Homeowners Association Law
Homeowners Association Law relates to the the creation and enforcement of organizations and their rules that manage and community associations and help to maintain their appearance and value. Most homeowners associations and condominiums are made up of a common residential asset managed through a chosen Board of Directors. Membership is mandatory upon the purchase of real estate situated in the association. State laws, local bylaws, and organizational rules all relate to the management of the community.
Most homeowners associations and condos are corporations formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling homes and lots in a residential subdivision. After reaching a certain threshold of sales, the developer relinquishes its control of the association to its members. Usually, the association is formed by filing certain documents in the public records of the state and county in which the association is situated. State oversight of homeowner associations is usually fairly minimal, but this trend is changing and associations are becoming increasingly regulated by the government.
What is a Homeowners Association?
A homeowners association is incorporated by the developer prior to the initial sale of homes, and the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), also called the Declaration, is recorded in the public records and sets forth the detailed rules of membership/property ownership in the community. There is no need for a mutual agreement between buyer and seller regarding the CC&Rs, as they are legally defined to "run with the land.” In other words, if one wants to buy the property they are assumed to be aware of the rules and buying it subject to the restrictions contained in the CC&Rs. If an owner sells the encumbered land/ home, he ceases to be a member of the association and the new owner becomes a member. All members must pay fees and conform to the restrictions of the association regardless of whether they have actual knowledge of these rules and fees or not.
Legal action of the homeowners association may be enforced through the threat and levying of fines, and private legal action under civil law. The HOA provides services, regulates activities, levees assessments, and may, as delegated by the states legislature, impose fines. Unlike a municipal government, they are not subject to the constitutional constraints that public government must abide by.
For more information about homeowners association law, please see the resources below. Additionally, you may be able to find an attorney in your area that focuses their practice on the area of HOA law in your jurisdiction by clicking on the “Law Firms” tab on the menu bar at the top of this page.
Know Your Rights!
Homeowners Association Law - US
- Community Association Manager Licensing
This resource center will provide state-specific information on enacted manager licensing/registration/certification/standards laws and pending legislation. It will also provide guidance and resources for those members and states that are discussing this issue.
- Fair Housing Laws - (HUD)
The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity administers federal laws and establishes national policies that make sure all Americans have equal access to the housing of their choice.
- Homeowners' Association - Definition
A homeowners' association (HOA) is an organization created by a real estate developer for the purpose of controlling the appearance and managing any common-area assets during the marketing, managing, and selling of homes and sites in a residential subdivision. It grants the developer privileged voting rights in governing the association, while allowing the developer to exit financial and legal responsibility of the organization, typically by transferring ownership of the association to the homeowners after selling off a predetermined number of lots. It allows a civil municipality to increase its tax base, but without requiring it to provide equal services to all of its citizens. Membership in the homeowners association by a residential buyer is typically forced as a condition of purchase; a buyer isn't given an option to reject it.
Organizations Related to Homeowners Association Law
- American Homeowners Association
AHA provides over 35 services and benefits that help take the high cost and hassles out of buying, owning and maintaining your home. As an AHA Member, you can save well over $1,000 each year and avoid many common (and costly) pitfalls. You can count on AHA for greater convenience and peace of mind -- we'll be there for you when you need us!
- American Homeowners Resource Center
We are a public interest interactive website for homeowners. This section is for those who live in Homeowners Associations. The primary driving force behind the American Homeowners Resource Center (AHRC) is a national and international grassroots network of homeowners working together to protect homes.
- Association for Homeowners Across America (AHAA)
The Association for Homeowners Across America (AHAA) exists to improve the home buying and homeownership experience for millions of people who currently own homes or wish to buy a home. The first organization of its kind, AHAA is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization providing homeowners with a one-stop resource for homeowner education, consumer services, discounts, benefits, and advocacy.
- Community Association Network
The Community Associations Network, LLC was formed to create a single, public, internet resource for community associations and the people and firms that work with them. The phrase "re-inventing the wheel" has been used often to describe association operations, where each board of directors wrestles with a problem or issue as if it has never been dealt with before. Chances are it has, but there was no way to find out about it. CAN is going to try and change that. CAN is not affiliated with one individual, company or group, instead we try and bring you the widest possible scope of information, products and services to help you with this housing type. It is our hope that by doing this you'll find a good, positive answer to questions and issues that may confront you.
- Community Associations Institute
CAI provides education, tools and resources to people who govern and manage homeowners associations, condominiums and other planned communities. Our mission is to help you make your community a better—even preferred—place to call home
Publications Related to Homeowners Association Law
Articles on HG.org Related to Homeowners Association Law
- Absurd Animal Cases in Homeowners AssociationsIn my former legal practice, I found that few cases were more prone to absurd happenings, bizarre government policies, or overly expensive litigation than pet cases.
- Dealing with Nuisance NeighborsWe have all had the situation at some point: a neighbor that cares for nobody but themselves. Stereo blasting late at night, dogs barking or attacking others, construction that causes damage to our property...the list goes on. So what do you do in those instances when reasoning with the neighbor just is not working?
- What Owners Should Know About Homeowner Association CollectionsIf you live in a homeowners association, condominium, co-op, or other community association, you are probably already familiar with the concept of paying assessments, dues, service fees, or whatever your association may call them. But what happens if you get behind in paying your assessments? Can you stop paying these fees if you think your association is not treating you fairly?
- What are Fiduciary Duties?We often hear that someone owes us a fiduciary duty, whether in a business setting, certain transactions, or even a condo/co-op or homeowners association. But what is a fiduciary duty, how does a fiduciary relationship arise, and what are its implications?
- Before You Buy or Sell, Check Indoor Air QualityMold, Radon and other contributing factors to indoor air quality can significantly alter the value of a property and how well it sells. It can even constitute a claim or lawsuit.
- Use of EasementsAn easement is a grant of permission by the owner of land (known as the subservient estate) in favor of the owner of a different parcel of land (known as the dominant estate) to cross over and/or use a portion of the subservient estate.
- Forced Flood InsuranceOver the last several years, a number of large banks have been forcing homeowners to purchase excessive and in some cases unnecessary flood insurance policies at overpriced premiums. If you have been forced or pressured into buying one of these costly policies you may be able to recover your losses.
- Attorney Las Vegas - Real Estate Attorneys Foreclosure and Foreclosed Homes in Las Vegas NevadaWhat is foreclosure? - To foreclose on property is for a creditor to assert a claim of right, given by the owner of property to a creditor, to transfer interest in property to the creditor in the event the present owner (borrower) fails to pay an obligation, usually created by a loan agreement or promissory note. In short, in most cases, it is when a lender takes property from its owner and sells it in order to satisfy an unpaid debt.
- Dual Tracking is Expected in OhioPlaintiffs in Foreclosure litigation will continue to proceed with the foreclosure litigation despite having a loan modification application pending. I recently read a post regarding the California Act that will prohibit Banks from "dual tracking" foreclosure cases. This term of art that is developing describes the situation in which the Bank continues to work with the Homeowner to modify the mortgage while also proceeding with the foreclosure action.
- Legal Obligations and Liabilities of Condominium Homeowners’ Associations for the Common Areas in California LawLegal obligations and liabilities of condominium homeowners’ associations under the Davis-Stirling Act under California law for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the common areas of the condominium property.
- All Real Estate Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Real Estate including: construction law, eminent domain, foreclosure, homeowners association, land use and zoning, landlord and tenant law, property law, property management.