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What can Homeowners Associations Regulate - Article Banner
Whether you’re thinking about buying a new property or planning to rent one that happens to be in a community association, you may be wondering what kind of power the Board has over how you enjoy your own home.

Many people appreciate the requirements and standards that Communities put into place, because it provides a uniformity throughout the community and often protects housing values. But, there are limits to what they can regulate.

The following are some of the details that your Homeowners Association (HOA) can often control when you own a property in a community association.

Exterior Features

One of the most common regulations you’ll find within any HOA is what color of paint can be used on the exterior of a house. Some HOA Communities will have a list of paint colors that are acceptable, and condominiums or villas often maintain these areas. Some will require that you submit your preferences for approval before you paint the outside of your home, while others will insist that you not painting any common areas.

Landscaping

The Boards can also regulate landscaping. For example, some HOAs won’t allow residents to have private vegetable gardens. Others will watch the growth of weeds and grass and cite you for allowing the grass to get too long or the flower beds too overgrown. They can regulate the pruning or replacement of shrubs and hedges. They can decide whether or not a fence is permitted and, if so, what kind of fence you can put up. In a Condominium or Villa, the Board may allow you to maintain certain aspects of the landscaping or not let you be involved at all.

Structures and Outdoor Buildings

If you’re contemplating the installation of an addition to your home or a shed in your backyard, check with your Community Association first. They may have architectural requirements for additions and sheds to the extent they will be allowed, restricted, or denied. Your Board can often dictate how large the structure is, what color it is painted, and where on your property it can be placed. They may also regulate mailboxes, swing sets, holiday decorations, and political yard signs.

Pets

A community’s governing documents may determine whether pets are allowed. To make sure you do not have a conflict, make sure you check a community’s pet policies before you buy or rent a home. Sometimes, all animals are allowed. Other times, the animals must be a certain size or age. Also, there may be breed restrictions, because some dogs are considered dangerous. You might need to provide proof of extra liability insurance if you move in with certain pets.

Children

If you’re buying a property in a 55+ community, you may not be allowed to have children in the home. Each association has different rules, but some age-restricted communities require that one or both residents are 55 or older; often, children are allowed as guests on a short-term basis.

Noise and Nuisances

A Community can also regulate potential nuisances like noise. Loud parties or disruptive music can result in a violation. Behavior at communal amenities, such as fitness centers and swimming pools, are also regulated. In these communal areas, there may be opening and closing hours that need to be respected, dress code policies, and a code of conduct. You will also often be responsible for any guests you bring to these amenities.

Vehicles

Governing Documents also often limit the parking of Commercial Vehicles in your driveway, the storage of unlicensed or inoperable vehicles, or repairing vehicles in the driveway of common parking areas. Also, the overnight storage of trailers, boats, and recreational vehicles may be an infraction.

Summary

documentsWhen you purchase your home or decide to rent, you agree to abide by the governing documents that are assigned to the community in which the home resides. It is important to request a copy of the governing documents in advance and familiarize yourself with the expectations and requirements before purchasing or renting into a community.

If you are a Board Member, make sure you don’t overstep what you’re allowed to regulate. Ensure that your decisions are based on the best interest of the community, and that you are consistent with the administration of the community requirements, and disregard what you have no control over.

We can help make things more clear. Contact us at Community Property Management if you have any questions.