Homeowners Association Regulations
Homeowners association have rules in place for many reasons, including community structure and safety. Their governing documents, also known as the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions or CC&Rs, govern property ownership and membership in the association.
Most CC&Rs include rental guidelines, which state that any owners choosing to rent their homes must adhere to established community rules. Other common rules include curb appeal regulations, parking restrictions and pet guidelines.
Many real estate agents will tell you that curb appeal is one of the most important factors in selling a property. It gives potential buyers their first impression of the home, and it is often a direct reflection of how well the interior has been maintained.
For this reason, homeowners association rules are often very strict about how your home looks from the outside. Some HOAs will fine homeowners for having overgrown lawns or weeds, and some will have restrictions on what types of plants can be planted in your yard.
While these rules may be upsetting, it’s important to remember that you agreed to them when you purchased your home. Additionally, if you have extenuating circumstances, you can usually ask the homeowner association to waive your fine.
With cars now within reach for many people in America, associations often have to deal with parking issues that affect their communities. The first step in dealing with these problems is to ensure homeowners are aware of the association’s parking rules. This can be done by placing a prominently displayed sign that clearly outlines the parking policy and consequences for violators. It’s also a good idea to include the parking rules in welcome packages for new homeowners and periodically remind residents of these regulations.
While the exact consequences for parking violations depend on state and HOA laws, they may include levying fines, towing and temporarily suspending homeowner privileges. However, this last measure is typically only taken after a rigorous process including notice and an opportunity to appeal the decision.
Depending on the wording of the governing documents, condos and neighborhoods must maintain common areas in a manner that is acceptable to those living nearby. HOA fees are normally used to pay for such maintenance, which can include landscaping, trash removal, street lights and other infrastructure, pools and playgrounds.
According to Beth Mulcahy, an attorney who represents homeowners associations, most CC&Rs limit the number of people that can live in a home to reduce congestion and set neighborhood safety standards. She also cites rules that govern how people use their properties, such as prohibiting the conversion of garages into hair salons or the storage of vehicles such as motorcycles or boats. Property owners must abide by these rules or face fines. Inheritance of undivided interests appertaining to common areas is allowed if the proper procedures are followed.
A loyal dog, a comforting cat, or even a calming fish tank can make a homeowner feel right at home. However, these companions can sometimes be a nuisance to neighbors. Enforcing rules governing pets will help residents keep their furry friends in check, so that the community stays peaceful and happy.
Your governing documents should clearly state pet rules, such as whether dogs must be leashed or not, and spaying/neutering regulations. You may also want to require pet owners to register their animals. This will let you know how many and what type of pets live in your community, which can help when addressing violations of pet rules.
Remember that federal and state anti-discrimination laws override any homeowners association restrictions regarding pet ownership. You should not discriminate against disabled members by imposing pet restrictions that interfere with the ability of their service or emotional support animals to perform tasks or provide comfort.
Noise pollution is a common complaint among homeowners and residents in communities with HOAs. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including loud conversations, machinery and amplified music. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce it.
Depending on the community and governing documents, there are many things an association can do to address noise concerns. Often, the board will start by issuing a warning. This will allow them to resolve the issue before it becomes more serious.
If the problem persists, then a homeowner association can file liens against a property or begin eviction proceedings. The governing documents may also specify fees that must be paid. The association can also encourage residents to use rugs and carpeting to absorb sounds that resonate through the flooring.