Homeowners Association Rules & Regulations...

By
Real Estate Agent with La Rosa Realty

For more than 57 million Americans, homeowner's associations regulate everything from the color of their home to when they can have the garage door open. They also can force homeowners into foreclosure.

Other things HOAs commonly regulate include:

  • Shingles and exterior paint color.
  • Fences and hedges: whether you can have them at all, and if so, what type, color and how tall -- right down to the inches.
  • Trees, lawns and weeds: what types of plants can be put in and even how many times a month you must water and mow your lawn.
  • Pools: These are often hot-button items. Boards regulate whether owners can have pools, diving boards and how large they can be. Community pools often come with strict rules on times they can be used, supervision of youngsters and whether guests are allowed.
  • Swing sets and basketball hoops: At some communities these are big no-nos. At others, they must be small and out of sight. Owners often get into trouble if they are in the front yard.
  • Garages and sheds: Unauthorized sheds are another sticking point, and junky garages will get you in trouble, as will leaving your garage door up.
  • Mailboxes and garbage cans: size, color and types. Also, leaving garbage cans out for more than a day can get you fined.
  • Pets: size, type and breeds. Dogs off leashes are usually prohibited.  Limits to the amount of pets i.e. two dogs allowed.
     
  • Outdoor lights: One family got in trouble for leaving their tasteful, white decorative Christmas lights up until February. Know what types of lights and how many are allowed.
  • Parking on your lawn: Many associations does not allow owners or visitors to park on lawn.

What you should know before buying into a homeowner's association
Once you have an eye on a home, ask the real estate agent if it is part of a homeowner's association. If it is, make sure you take the following steps*:

  • Get copies of the governing documents from the association manager.
  • If you don't understand the rules, ask your real estate agent or lawyer for help.
  • Take time to talk to people who live there about the association.
  • Know how much the assessments are.
  • If you are on a tight budget, find out how easy it is for the board to increase the assessment amount.
  • Does the community have a cash reserve for new projects?
  • Are there restrictions on renting?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the architectural guidelines?
  • What are the rules on pets, flags, satellite dishes, fences, patios and home businesses?
  • If you are considering an age-restricted community, what is the policy on underage residents and visitors?
  • Consider whether the rules fit your lifestyle and sense of community.

*Tips provided by the Community Associations Institute

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Rainer
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Marc Blasi
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Hi Netta-

My HOA runs a prety tight ship - it saves me a lot of aggravation.

Nov 18, 2006 10:16 PM #1
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anthea
I am badly in need of help. Our development is divided into 23 3-4acre lots. Each lot is single family. Our covenants are very liberal and clearly explained in the package given to each homeowner. My problem is that we have several lotowners who are either late paying or flatly refuse to pay their 175.00 a year assessment/dues. The dues are payable any time during the current fiscal year January 1st-December 31st and towards the end of that year reminders are sent explaining that if not paid by January 31st of the following year (allowing 13 months for the payment, a lien will be placed against their property. I have just placed a total of 5 liens. A couple of the liens are repeat liens, the homeowners are 2-3 years late in payment. My question is......HOW DO I GO ABOUT FOLLOWING UP ON THESE LIENS? We, the association, took one homeowner to court after 13 years of non-payment and the magistrate promptly through the case out because we were not incorporated. We are now. How can we prevent this from happening again? The local county court has offered conflicting information about the proceedure for following up on these liens. One person says we have to go to court every 3 years, another person says every 6 months. (We know this is incorrect). We use every penny of these dues to improve the roads in the development, all officers are voluntary. Our coffers are low, $5400 and we were hoping to earmark it for the next 100 feet of paving. An attorney will eat this amount in one gulp and although we have been given legal advice in the past, I'm not a lawyer and don't undersatnd the rules that keep changing each time we go to court. CAN ANYONE OFFER ADVICE?
Feb 04, 2008 10:00 AM #2
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anthea
I am badly in need of help. Our development is divided into 23 3-4acre lots. Each lot is single family. Our covenants are very liberal and clearly explained in the package given to each homeowner. My problem is that we have several lotowners who are either late paying or flatly refuse to pay their 175.00 a year assessment/dues. The dues are payable any time during the current fiscal year January 1st-December 31st and towards the end of that year reminders are sent explaining that if not paid by January 31st of the following year (allowing 13 months for the payment, a lien will be placed against their property. I have just placed a total of 5 liens. A couple of the liens are repeat liens, the homeowners are 2-3 years late in payment. My question is......HOW DO I GO ABOUT FOLLOWING UP ON THESE LIENS? We, the association, took one homeowner to court after 13 years of non-payment and the magistrate promptly through the case out because we were not incorporated. We are now. How can we prevent this from happening again? The local county court has offered conflicting information about the proceedure for following up on these liens. One person says we have to go to court every 3 years, another person says every 6 months. (We know this is incorrect). We use every penny of these dues to improve the roads in the development, all officers are voluntary. Our coffers are low, $5400 and we were hoping to earmark it for the next 100 feet of paving. An attorney will eat this amount in one gulp and although we have been given legal advice in the past, I'm not a lawyer and don't undersatnd the rules that keep changing each time we go to court. CAN ANYONE OFFER ADVICE?
Feb 04, 2008 10:00 AM #3
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anthea
I am badly in need of help. Our development is divided into 23 3-4acre lots. Each lot is single family. Our covenants are very liberal and clearly explained in the package given to each homeowner. My problem is that we have several lotowners who are either late paying or flatly refuse to pay their 175.00 a year assessment/dues. The dues are payable any time during the current fiscal year January 1st-December 31st and towards the end of that year reminders are sent explaining that if not paid by January 31st of the following year (allowing 13 months for the payment, a lien will be placed against their property. I have just placed a total of 5 liens. A couple of the liens are repeat liens, the homeowners are 2-3 years late in payment. My question is......HOW DO I GO ABOUT FOLLOWING UP ON THESE LIENS? We, the association, took one homeowner to court after 13 years of non-payment and the magistrate promptly through the case out because we were not incorporated. We are now. How can we prevent this from happening again? The local county court has offered conflicting information about the proceedure for following up on these liens. One person says we have to go to court every 3 years, another person says every 6 months. (We know this is incorrect). We use every penny of these dues to improve the roads in the development, all officers are voluntary. Our coffers are low, $5400 and we were hoping to earmark it for the next 100 feet of paving. An attorney will eat this amount in one gulp and although we have been given legal advice in the past, I'm not a lawyer and don't undersatnd the rules that keep changing each time we go to court. CAN ANYONE OFFER ADVICE?
Feb 04, 2008 10:00 AM #4
Rainer
61,226
Netta Blackwood
La Rosa Realty - Kissimmee, FL
REO/BPO Expert
Anthea, try contacting Association of Poinciana they have one of the biggest HOA within the country - 863-427-0900 ext 223.  They might be able to direct you.
Feb 08, 2008 07:49 PM #5
Anonymous
Anonymous
Mark

Hi,

I live in Columbus, oh. We have no condo association where I live and all of the sudden the guy who I bought the condo from wants to create an association. I really like it without any condo association since the place does not have any amenities and each owner have own insurance. The question is can I refuse to be part of this association?  

THANKS 

Feb 20, 2008 06:48 PM #6
Anonymous
Anonymous
arj
We have rules and regulations in our park, that state no structure shall be erected that is free standing. also you cannot enlarge or build a structure that will be out further than the mobile home structure. our neighbor has done both of these items, and these things usually go to the boarde of directors for a vote, but my problem is if I vote as I feel  then there will be a big problem in the park, and a fight will erupt, would you just go along with the board and vote yes and let it go at that, or take the easy way out and not go to the board meeting, the majority of the board members are friends with this individual. please advise
Mar 29, 2008 10:16 PM #7
Anonymous
Anonymous
bARBARA

Can a CA HOA board change the rules and regs, creating a financial impact on residents, without a majority vote of the residents?   Does anyone know of a legal ruling addressing this?

May 02, 2009 02:23 PM #8
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Netta Blackwood

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