What is A Homeowner’s Association?

Now that you are venturing into the world of becoming a homeowner, pretty soon you will start to hear talk about homeowner's associations. You might have some questions, or you may not be totally sure exactly what power a homeowner's association may have. Today we are going to explore this topic, and hope to clear up some misconceptions.

A Homeowner's Association is a legal entity formed to govern rules about common property areas. They are usually not for profit groups. The members of a Homeowner's Association (or HOA) are the people who own property in a certain area. If you live in a townhome or condominium community, you will usually find a HOA. They are also very popular in new single family neighborhood developments.

HOA's make the rules regarding what can and can not take place in a neighborhood. They have the authority to enforce deed restrictions, and they control what you can and can not do on propery (even if you own it) that is located in that neighborhood. HOA's can have a lot of influence and power in a community.

When you are planning on becoming a resident in a HOA controlled community, you will receive a packet of information with all of the rules, regulations etc. This packet is known as a CC&R (Covanents, Conditions, and Restrictions). This CC&R will explain to you all of the rules and regulations.If you don't like something in the CC&R, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to get it changed.

You will be expected to pay monthly or yearly dues as a member of the HOA. Fees can vary from small amounts, to outrageous ones. Some HOA's charge more than $300 per month! The fees that you pay will be used to upkeep community property, such as pools, golf courses, etc.

Along with paying a membership fee to be part of the HOA, the HOA will also govern and regulate what exactly can and can not take place on a property. Some of the most common things that HOA's regulate are:

  • Exterior Paint Colors (usually grey, white, browns)
  • Type of Shingles Used on Houses
  • Control of Trash/Debris
  • Pools
  • Basketball Hoops, Recreational PlayThings
  • TreeHouses
  • BackYard Play Houses
  • Trees
  • Weeds, Plants, Gardens
  • Lawn Care
  • Trash Cans
  • Recreational Vehicles
  • Where You Can Park
  • Window Coverings Seen From The Street
  • Pets
  • Garages/Sheds
  • TV Antennas
  • Clotheslines
  • Yard Sales
  • Mailboxes
  • Outdoor Lighting

As you can see, HOA's can control many aspects of daily life, so it is important to decide whether or not you can live within the restrictions that they impose before deciding whether or not to buy. The goal of the HOA is to make life pleasant for all residents, but those that are not able to conform to the rules of HOAs may not find the experience pleasant. There is a lot of love/hate relationships with HOA's in America. Some people appreciate that they keep neighborhoods clean and tidy and help to keep up the value of surrounding homes. Other people find them to be too restrictive and overbearing. There are a lot of things to consider when determining whether or not you want to live in an area with a HOA. A trusted real estate agent like Hamid Ali can help you decide what the right choice is for you.


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All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.