HOA Violations can turn into a Horror Story!
This Blog is about HOA's; read before you buy, become informed before moving into their home. Most people do not read the HOA documents prior to closing on a home. HOA documents are legally binding. Buying a home is a big investment and you should make sure you are informed. I am located in Arizona and speaking primarily from my own knowledge and experience. HOA rules are governed by each state differently, you will have governing documents called CCR’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions), and By-laws, (Restrictions).
I will only be highlighting some of the things that you should be aware of, most common issues I’ve seen. I highly recommend you read or have your attorney review your CCR's, Bylaws and Rules & Regulations before closing on a home. These legal documents are binding and not paying dues in protest can cost you a lot more then dues, attorney fees, late fines, and even cause foreclosure on liens for not paying a violation.
Let's start with, what is an HOA? Home Owners Association or POA Private Homeowners Association. HOA Wikipedia A Homeowners Association is an Organization in a Subdivision, Planned community or Condominium that enforce or make rules for properties and their residents.
HOA's were set up to provide services, amenities along with facilities and enforce community rules, by doing so this would protect property values.
A Homeowner becomes a member automatically when they buy a home in an HOA/ POA community and are required to pay HOA fees/dues. You can vote as long as you are a member in good standing.
Board/Property Management Company /Self Goverance
The HOA is managed by a Board of Directors and the Board is elected by the members, the Board can accept other Board Directors if there is an opening to serve out a term that has been vacated. The Board of Directors hires a HOA property management company to administrate the daily functions of an HOA community and enforce the guidelines on behalf of the Board of Directors. The HOA may elect not to have a property management company, but self- govern instead; to self-govern you should review your documents, speak with the members, attorney and accountant first.
Rules & Regs
The Board of Directors will draft up Rules and Regulations based on CCR’s, Fine Policy, and Architectural guidelines for the community. If the guideline is not followed you can be fined by the HOA for a Violation. The violation will be sent to you by the property manager.
What to look for in an HOA
The Financial condition of the HOA, are there any disputes, ongoing litigation?If the HOA does not have enough funds in the reserve account, they may have to make a special assessment in order to complete repairs. Litigation can deplete some of the HOA funds.
Most common Horror issues
Landscape; weeds, trees, bushes, granite; (Not be maintained, certain variety of trees and bushes not allowed)
Parking on streets; some allow parking, some allow day parking and some allow overnight parking; (no commercial vehicles, RV, Trailers, campers allowed) or restricted.
Garbage Cans; left out more than a day; can cause a fine or courtesy letter requesting the can be put away.
Driveways; Grease on cement, no working on cars.
Painting; HOA's have certain colors you can paint your home.
Renting; Not allowing rentals, restricting rentals, limit a minimum time a home can be leased.
Flags; Limiting how many flags and how displayed.
Antennas/ Cable TV; Placement of Antennas or Cable Dishes HOA's Blocking Antennas
If you should have a concern or question, have your Realtor guide you. They can ask the owner or you can contact the HOA.
HOA Non Enforcement
This is something to beware of, Board of directors may not enforce the CCR"s or rules and regulation, while a different elected Board may. The documents supersede and ignorance is no excuse in the court of law.
I hope this has helped you at least be aware of the importance of HOA documents.