HOA’s get a bad reputation for being controlling and expensive, but at the same time, they can also make a neighborhood a far more pleasant place to live. Understanding how an HOA works can help people decide if they want to be a part of one.

Who Runs an HOA?

HOAs are a type of governing body. They are run by a board of directors who are elected by the residents. The HOA board may change on a regular basis, or the same group of people may be in charge of it for years.

Are HOAs Legal?

Yes, HOA rules are legally binding in almost all cases. An HOA is made by residents joining together to create a community, and future residents must agree to the HOA laws before purchasing an HOA home. If a resident breaks a rule, they may be subject to fines or prevented from accessing HOA properties. Those who avoid paying may risk the HOA putting a lien on the home or forcing a foreclosure.

Common HOA Restrictions

Each HOA is different. They all have the same goal of increasing property values and making the neighborhood more enjoyable for residents. Some of the common rules include:

  • Housing paint colors
  • Landscaping and lawn maintenance
  • Noise rules
  • Property renting options
  • Objects allowed on lawns
  • Parking options
  • Fence height and type
  • Outdoor light levels

How Do HOA Fees Work?

Every HOA will collect fees that are used to maintain communal property and manage board expenses. These fees are usually not negotiable, and they may increase. Therefore, any homeowner should make sure they are satisfied with fees before joining an HOA.

What Does an HOA Offer?

With all the rules and fees, some feel that an HOA is more trouble than it is worth. However, a big benefit of HOAs is that they make sure neighbors are following rules. Homeowners do not have to worry about neighbors throwing loud parties at midnight or parking broken cars on their lawn. Furthermore, many HOAs build and maintain community amenities, including pools, exercise rooms, and clubhouses.