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Common HOA Rules: Things To Follow, And Things To Avoid

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Homeowners who own property collectively form a homeowners’ association responsible for maintaining the property and common areas. A new homeowner who purchases a home in an HOA community agrees to abide by the HOA rules and pay the associated fees. Protecting their property’s value is one benefit, along with grounds keeping, exterior maintenance, and trash pickup.

HOA rules and regulations are put together by the collective governing bodies including board members. Police enforce HOA rules to enhance, protect, and maintain the homes and properties. The associations can also take legal action against you if you break the rules, including filing a lawsuit, putting a lien on your house, and paying fines.

You can ask your real estate agent regarding the regulations governing the community association you’re looking to live in. Here are five of the most common rules and regulations approved by an HOA board.

HOA community

Architectural Control

According to this rule, the governing documents have the power to control a homeowner’s ability to make changes or improvements to their property.

A court will interpret these regulations based on how contracts are interpreted, which varies slightly from state to state. If a rule is contested, a court will look at the rule’s plain language as well as the rules and regulations as a whole, much like it would look at the whole contract when interpreting a specific clause.

Lawn And Holiday Decoration Restrictions

Around Christmas time and other celebrations, homeowners should take note of their homes’ lawn and holiday decorations. These rules regulate the decoration size so houses have uniform lawn decoration setups. There could be noise ordinances to be implemented as well.

Many associations place a high value on consistency and uniformity, which is why some even go so far as to limit the color of decorations. An HOA might, for instance, only permit white or yellow HOA Christmas lights. This again comes down to preserving the neighborhood’s aesthetic appeal.

Home Maintenance Standards

Homes and properties‘ exterior condition is crucial, so owners should cooperate with the HOA to keep their residences in good condition and line with neighborhood norms.

The main objective of this regulation is to increase curb appeal or how the house looks from afar. These include roof, awnings, decks, exterior storage, paint, sidings, downspouts, and gutters. Trash and recycling rules are also usually implemented in the homeowners association rules to keep the neighborhood spic and span.

Many HOAs employ community dumpsters so that it is left to the homeowner’s responsibility to dispose of their trash.

If you plan on installing solar panels, transfer ownership to your home, or do significant changes to your space in the condominium building, you may need to join board meetings to raise your concern.

Trash and recycling rules


HOAs typically forbid using trailers, RVs, boats, campers, and commercial vehicles. Associations aim to preserve the neighborhood’s aesthetic appeal and raise property values as a result. There may be a designated space for this, but typically, homeowners are free to park their cars in their driveways. For instance, condominium buildings may assign specific parking spaces to unit owners in a shared lot.

As far as the roads are concerned, other regulations may also include introducing strict rules on speed limits or a particular rule that restricts parking for long periods of time in a specific area. Such specific rules differ from one neighborhood to another depending on the need of the community members and as deemed by the community associations.

Yardwork And Landscaping

A list of approved plants is frequently included in HOA gardening regulations. This list would specify the plants a homeowner may have installed, whether they do it themselves or hire a landscaper. The types of lawn furniture permitted should be regulated, especially in the neighborhood’s front yard and other prominent locations.

While good landscaping can increase property value, you may still need written approval for any changes you may implement that may fall include some rule violations. Just make sure that you are transparent with the planned development and let them know that you know the term limits. Almost all HOAs give considerations for such situations.

Summing Up

Living in a planned community can be both a blessing and a curse and subject to some of the HOA’s rules. It presents the chance to give up some of your control over your house in exchange for taking on fewer upkeep duties outside of it and the advantage of using shared security and amenities. The varied appearance of a typical neighborhood must be exchanged for a more uniform appearance and the associated work, so you must feel at ease doing so.

Most HOA rules are implemented to keep the neighborhood safe. Homeowners associations also allow for some exemptions for certain situations. However, any HOA rule violation may lead to payment of HOA fees.

If you plan on being a board member, you should familiarize yourself with some of the federal laws applicable to creating HOA’s rules and HOA restrictions. Association members are expected to pitch in ideas, address rules that may be problematic to some, enforce rules that are being neglected, and make sure that all other rules are implemented.