Homeowners associations (HOAs) are private organizations set up by housing developers to provide rules and regulations for homeowners within that development. HOAs are typically managed by housing developers until they transfer control to homeowners. Homeowners associations fulfill many functions related to the maintenance of shared public areas, enforcing governing rules for property appearance and stabilizing property values. A person who buys a property that is governed by an HOA must often become a member of that organization, making them subject to its regulations.

The utility of HOA covenants

Homeowner association covenants are aimed at enhancing property values and enforcing internal regulations that may not have a basis in any state or local laws. By making homeowners in the association keep up a particular type of appearance, HOAs hope to make housing prices more stable to keep the community’s investments in good condition. Though covenants differ from one HOA to another, by becoming a member, homeowners are generally subject to restrictions in how they can use, maintain and alter their properties. Here are some of the common disputes between homeowners and HOAs:

  • A homeowner may disagree with the fine or citation given out by the HOA for house alteration or something that violates the HOA agreement.
  • For some HOAs, the enforcement of its rules may be inconsistently applied to those residents in the association, causing homeowners to take exception with the way they are treated compared to their neighbors.
  • If the HOA attempts to enforce a rule that may not be present in its agreement, this could cause unnecessary conflicts between homeowners and the association.
  • An HOA may attempt to resolve disputes between neighbors, requiring that they take part in legal mediation to find an amicable solution to a legal conflict.

Protecting your rights in HOA disputes

Though members of HOAs are contractually obligated to abide by its rules and regulations, HOAs don’t have the right to discriminate against homeowners unfairly. If you have a dispute with your HOA or a prospective HOA, contact a lawyer with experience in HOA disputes and homeowners’ rights.