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A homeowner association (HOA) develops rules and regulations intended to look out for the common interest of residents within its development. Purchasing a home in an area controlled by a HOA usually comes with automatic membership in the association and responsibility for associated fees. State laws regulate the operation of HOAs, and these laws vary. Each HOA has a set of governing documents, including articles; bylaws; and covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), which set out the rules regarding rights and responsibilities of both the owners and the HOA. HOAs may regulate things like:
The HOA’s board also has the authority to:
In some states, the association may foreclose on owners who do not pay their fees. Each HOA must follow all applicable local, state and federal laws, but otherwise are free to set their own rules. So, one HOA may ban all pets while others may allow only small pets. Others may ban certain types of children’s play structures or allow them only in parts of your yard not visible from the street. Make sure you are clear on the regulations within a community you are considering moving into, and be sure you can live with those regulations. Once you move in, get involved with your association. That way you will know about potential changes and be able to express your opinion and shape the character of your community.