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How does an HOA board handle members’ home improvement projects?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2022 | Homeowners' Associations

Homeowners associations (HOAs) in New York help ensure the right of owners to the quiet enjoyment of their properties. They also help to preserve home values and provide shared amenities that make living in the community more pleasant, like a gym or a community pool.

HOAs establish rules that apply to all of the properties in the association. From lawn maintenance rules to limitations on how long a trash bin can be at the curb, the rules set and enforced by an HOA are what make the community an attractive place to live.

Occasionally, homeowners will want to renovate, expand or remodel their homes, and the changes they hope to make will need to comply with your HOA regulations. How can your HOA properly handle building and remodeling projects?

Commit to consistent enforcement of the rules

If your HOA bylaws prohibit certain colors of siding or construction work on the weekends, the HOA cannot grant exceptions for an individual without risking the authority the HOA has to enforce those rules later.

If a board member obtains permission to use exterior colors specifically prohibited in the community bylaws, someone else may try to use an even more extreme siding or paint color in the future. If the HOA then attempts to enforce the original rule, the person facing enforcement actions could claim discrimination.

Inconsistent enforcement of a rule can make the rule essentially unenforceable. Anytime a homeowner within an HOA community asks for permission to start a construction project, the HOA must review the rules to ensure the project is compliant.

Take swift action when projects deviate from standards

Rather than waiting for someone to finish construction on a project that violates HOA rules, it is important to act quickly. Not only can you reduce the amount of time that their property is non-compliant, but you can potentially save the homeowner money too. The less they invest in changes that they cannot actually maintain at the property because of HOA rules, the less likely they are to resent the HOA board for enforcing those rules.

Understanding the rules that govern HOA enforcement actions will help you maintain the standards and goodwill of your community.