When it comes to living with a homeowners association, there are all sorts of perks that are involved. These can include having a beautifully manicured lawn, great amenities, and even amazing holiday barbecues. However, there are also all sorts of stigmas that are attached with living with an HOA as well. In fact, some board members have been known to go on their own type of power trips and enforce all kinds of ridiculous restrictions that have to be seen to be believed. Thankfully, there are some state and federal laws that restrict what HOAs are able to do to homeowners themselves.
Here are four different things that no HOA is able to enforce on any homeowner, no matter what you may hear otherwise.
No HOA is ever permitted to fine or prohibit anyone from purchasing a home in a neighborhood simply because of their ethnicity or race. Additionally, they are also not permitted to kick you out simply because board members dislike someone’s religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political preference, national origin, or even if they have children. According to one attorney, “an association must be careful enacting and enforcing rules that would single out or disadvantage any group identified in the Fair Housing Act.”
An HOA also cannot issue fines on homeowners simply because they feel they can, especially if the fine is listed nowhere in your CC&R. For instance, if you are receiving any kind of threatening letter in your mailbox telling you to trim a rosebush otherwise you’ll be fined, yet there is no such regulation listed in your CC&R, this is a clear indication that what the HOA is committing is blatantly illegal and malicious. According to one real estate lawyer, any type of action taken by an HOA “must be set forth in the association’s rules and bylaws.” If you find that your HOA may be committing an illegal action against you in terms of imposing illegal fines, gather all necessary evidence and appeal it.
According to laws in a total of 19 states, homeowners who live with an HOA have the right to dry their clothes on a clothesline, regardless of what an HOA may try to tell you otherwise. In the event that an HOA attempts to enforce rules through a CC&R stating that you may not use a clothesline as a way to dry your clothes after you do laundry in any of those states, rest assured knowing that those rules are downright unenforceable. On the other hand, if you have a backyard that is shared with another homeowner, it’s important to note that an HOA could have the right to restrict your clotheslines.
No HOA can also suddenly make decisions on the fly. More specifically, board members cannot suddenly decide that they hate a specific color of mailboxes or decide that they suddenly want to add in new rules under the cover of darkness. In fact, the regulations for how new HOA rules are enacted is something that should always be outlined in your CC&R. In the event that the HOA isn’t following its own stipulations, then the chances are great that you have a valid complaint that you can lodge.
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