Purchasing a property in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners association (HOA) is one way of protecting your real estate investment. An HOA largely exists to establish and enforce community standards and rules, thereby protecting the property value and standard of living for those in an HOA neighborhood.
Unfortunately, some people can find an HOA to be more of a hindrance and a nuisance when they run afoul of certain rules. HOA violations can mean fines, conflict with your neighbors or even reduced access to community amenities until your property is back in compliance with HOA rules. What are some of the most common violations?
Inadequate lawn maintenance or creative landscaping
Limiting how long the grass can grow in an HOA neighborhood is common. In fact, some communities might even limit what kinds of grasses or decorative plants you can plant in your yard.
Restrictions on landscaping decisions help protect the curb appeal of homes in the community. Homeowners who install unattractive plants or who don’t properly maintain their yard could wind up cited and the focus of irritated neighborhood gossip.
Cosmetic changes to the house
Perhaps one of the most famous HOA cases in recent history involved a beloved North American author painting her house purple. This resulted in a protracted legal dispute between her and the HOA because the bright color violated the rules.
Unlike landscaping or long grass, non-compliant changes to your home can be expensive to correct. Before you invest in any major changes, especially if you want to add your own creative touch to the property, you want to make sure that there are no rules against those particular decisions.
Renting out a home or becoming a nuisance
Many HOAs have restrictions on the rights of a property owner to rent out a home. These restrictions may include limitations and who can rent or on the length of time for the lease. Many HOAs may allow annual leases but will not allow short-term rentals, like those that Airbnb landlords hope to arrange. Limiting the rental usage of ho a property is often a rule aimed at preventing nuisances for residence.
There may be other rules, such as limitations on loud noises, home repairs and even lawn maintenance involving loud equipment. Rules against people parking on the street or even about the behavior and leavings of companion animals may also lead to violations and conflicts for property owners. Other common violations could include leaving trash out, holiday decorations and how many vehicles you can park at one property.
Whether you need to review your HOA’s rules before contracting professionals for a remodeling job or you want to push back against enforcement efforts, you will likely need help advocating for yourself as a homeowner in an n h o a community.