Homeowners Association… the words that can and do strike fear into the hearts of many homeowners.
Homeowners associations, or HOAs for short, are put in place to protect the home owners in a development and their home values. They do this through instituting rules. Those rules range from how you can landscape your property, to what colors you can paint your home, to what kinds of vehicles you can keep outside your garage and more.
So can they tell you what to do?
In a word, yes. Those rules and regulations included in all those papers you signed when you settled on your home give them that power. They can tell you whether you can have pets and if so, how many and what kinds. They can tell you whether you can plant rose bushes or trees. They can tell you that you can’t keep your boat on your property or that your in laws can’t park on the driveway for the week they are visiting.
How do HOAs do this?
Those rules I mentioned before are known in your deed as covenants, conditions and restrictions. Your deed makes those rules and regulations mandatory. As long as they don’t violate state or federal law, you have to capitulate. The consequences can cost you. From getting behind on your HOA fees to fines for rule violations, those few hundred dollars can turn into thousands. You could even end up with a lien on your home, a garnishment of your bank accounts or paycheck or even a foreclosure.
Pick your battles!
So before you think about fighting your HOA over the trivialities of the height of a fence or shade of your home, study the rules, consult an attorney or just knuckle under. HOAs can and will tell you what to do.