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July 17, 2023

HOA concerns are rather common. They are too expensive. It is not allowed for residents to pick their own paint colors. They impose limitations on the breeds of dogs you are allowed to own, the types of basketball goals you are allowed to mount on your home, and even the types of grass you are allowed to grow in your yard.

However, homeowner associations are actually fairly common. 74 million Americans, or 29% of the total population, lived in communities that were governed by some sort of homeowner’s organization in 2021.

There are several exceptions to the general rule that you must follow the HOA rules if you buy a home in one of these neighborhoods.

Are HOA Regulations Actually Enforceable?

Simply by buying a home in an HOA-managed area, you are frequently required to abide by the rules, which are commonly referred to as restrictive covenants or covenants, conditions, and restrictions (or CC&Rs).

If you violate a HOA rule, you’ll typically get a notification in the mail asking you to make the necessary corrections. If it continues, it can get pricey.

Not all HOA rules, nevertheless, are mandated by the law. An HOA regulation is legitimate if the following four conditions are met.

1. All Local, State, and Federal Laws Must Be Followed.

The HOA bylaws can’t break any local, state, or national laws. This applies to all applicable laws, including those that specifically address HOAs.

Think about the Fair Housing Act in this nation. This prohibits discrimination when someone is attempting to buy or rent a property, protecting groups who could otherwise pay more, have their worth rated lower, or even be denied housing entirely.

Another good example of something a HOA could not oppose is New York’s Roommate Law, which grants most tenants the right to a roommate who is not on the lease.

2. The HOA’s Governing Documents Require That it Be Adopted.

In accordance with the group’s bylaws, which serve as its governing documents, HOA rules must also be approved.

The HOA’s rules must also be followed by any fines or other enforcement measures.

the association must have the right to do so, as defined in its governing papers, in order to execute a HOA regulation. This can entail having the power to penalize disobedience with fines or penalties or even bring legal action against disobedient homes.

3. It Has to Be Sensible.

The residents of a HOA cannot be asked to do anything at will. Rules cannot be “unpredictable or “unrealistic,” in order to be enforced.

Rules ought to make sense. Even if that is a matter of opinion, all laws must be justifiable in order to be upheld.

An excellent illustration would be if an HOA prohibited homeowners from using the community’s guest parking spaces for themselves or their visitors.

One may likely argue that it is unreasonable if they suddenly declare that visitors and owners alike cannot utilize the guest spaces. They are referred to as “guest spaces” for a reason—guests can park their automobiles there. You can’t legitimately claim that nobody is allowed to park there.

4. It Must Be Enforced Consistently.

Finally, HOA rules need to be enforced across the board — with every homeowner being held to the same standards consistently and fairly.

They must be applied equally to everyone. Therefore, the board cannot single out one of my friends because he parks in the guest space rather than any other vehicles that are illegally parked there.

The regulations must be applied “without bias or favoritism.

What To Do If You’re Unsure About An HOA Rule

There are choices available to you if you believe that your HOA’s regulations are unjust, contradictory, or otherwise unenforceable. First, present your issues in a HOA board meeting. The best outcome is probably probable when you come to the table with a substitute rule or alternative solution.

You can also join forces with your neighbors to remove unsatisfactory HOA board members, or you can run for office yourself. You would then have the ability to vote to alter the rules in the future.

Last but not least, you have the option to file a lawsuit, but this may be expensive and time-consuming.