A homeowners association can come with many benefits. For those who like extra perks and personalized lawn care, being part of an HOA can be great.
However, some can create nightmares for members. In some cases, HOA board members may enforce strict rules that can be hard to keep up with. These specific and sometimes tedious rules can create a headache for those living under the provisions of the HOA. However, the association still has a legal obligation to abide by federal and state housing laws, no matter what your HOA president says.
What your association can’t do to you
While their power can seem unlimited at times, HOAs have certain restrictions they must abide by. Here are a few examples:
- Hit you with random fines: Some HOAs are known to bill people for the smallest violations. For instance, your HOA may send you a notice saying that if you don’t trim your rose bush by the end of the month, you could get hit with a fine. But if the fine isn’t explicitly listed in the HOA’s rules and bylaws, you may not have to pay it. However, the association may not drop the fine after you reject it. If that’s the case, you can appeal it.
- Sporadically change their policies: If the association’s treasurer suddenly decides they no longer want plants in people’s yards, they can’t demand changes overnight. Unless it states otherwise in their policy book, an HOA can’t make changes without communicating with others first.
- Demand that you take down your satellite: Depending on the circumstances, some HOAs don’t think TV satellites look attractive in their neighborhoods. However, due to the FCC’s Over-the-Air Devices Rule, the association cannot force you to take it down.
HOAs can’t keep your complaints out of court
While not every HOA has overly stringent policies, there are still many out there who don’t play by the rules. This can leave those dealing with the HOA feeling like they have no way out. However, if you and others in the association find yourselves in a tight gridlock with board members, an attorney can help settle these matters.