9 Facts to Know About Homeowners Associations
A homeowners association is an organization established to govern a private community. Typically it owns and manages some common property for owners of private houses or condo units. By buying a lot and/or home in an HOA community, an owner automatically becomes a member of the HOA.
Specifics of laws that address HOAs may differ from state to state, county by county, or city by city.
If you plan to purchase a home or condo within an HOA-controlled development, it pays to do your homework before you buy, or you could face difficulties later if issues arise.
Here are 10 facts of HOA life you need to know if you’re considering moving into a condo or home in an HOA development:
HOA Fact #1) Don’t think you’re going to make alterations or additions without permission.
The fact is, with an HOA, it’s likely you must get permission from the board before doing any projects on your home or unit, if you can make any changes at all.
HOA Fact #2) Know the rules and regulations of the HOA.
Walking your dog in your front yard, or hosting cookouts in your back yard? As a HOA homeowner, it’s your duty to know the rules, or you could face problems.
HOA Fact #3) Are you a smoker? You may be in for some inconvenience.
Even if you comply with rules in public places about smoking, you’ll find many HOAs do not allow smoking on their properties. If you own a condo, you may not be able to smoke on your balcony or your ground-floor patio by the pool.
HOA Fact #4) Do you own a business you run from home?
If you have FedEx come to your door with deliveries for your business on a regular basis, you may be in violation of the “by-laws,” just as you may be in violation if you give weekly piano lessons in an area without sound protection.
HOA Fact #5) Could children cause you trouble?
The fact is, visitors, their children and other guests may be affected by rules and regulations that your little grandchildren have to abide by. (Ever try to keep the kids quiet on Thanksgiving or Christmas?).
HOA Fact #6) Renting out your unit to tenants.
Many HOAs do not allow subletting to renters. If they do, you have to make sure they follow the same HOA rules, which can be difficult since it is their home, too.
HOA Fact #7) When the HOA calls you about a problem.
This is the day most HOA dwellers are afraid of, the day when you are called out for an infraction of the rules. Some situations may be resolved in a friendly manner if neighbors are friendly. However, some situations are not friendly, when you could face a lawsuit, the HOA vs. YOU.
HOA Fact #8) Knowing your rights under the HOA.
There are things you are responsible for. There are things the HOA is responsible for. When a disagreement happens, the first step is usually a mediator that the HOA and residents have agreed to have represent them. If the mediation does not go well, you could still find yourself in a real court.
HOA Fact #9) What to do if you can’t resolve a problem.
In this case, you may be better off cutting your losses, and paying any fine or dues you owe. This way, the situation will be resolved and your problem is gone.
The final move some people resort to is to sell out. They sell their property or condo, and make a vow never to live in an HOA development again. We hope this look at HOAs can save you unwanted hassles when looking for a new home in the future.