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!
Articles on HG.org Related to Homeowners Association Law
- Disparate Impact Claims and Fair Housing LawFair housing laws are violated when a protected class of individuals is harmed through discrimination from the landlord or owner of a building. While these incidents are illegal, the burden of proving this is placed upon the plaintiff’s shoulders, and he or she must litigate this in court if a settlement is not an option.
- Is Landlord Also Liable When HOA Is Responsible for Snow and Ice RemovalDepending on the lease or rental agreement in a real estate deal, the landlord could also be responsible for removing ice and snow from the property. There are often certain conditions that affect these situations that could lead to additional problems when not considered carefully by all parties involved.
- HOA Bonds, Fees, and AssessmentsMany communities have HOAs that help maintain, repair and regulate the dwellings in their association. Homeowners are responsible for paying HOA fees in order to fund the HOA. They may also be responsible for paying additional fees throughout the year as expenses add up.
- Can an HOA Prevent the Lawful Exercise of Gun Rights?Homeowners’ Associations are able to create and enforce many different rules and guidelines for those within the community. However, in usual circumstances, they are not permitted to take away the basic freedoms granted to United States citizens, but these HOAs could affect how rights are utilized within the area.
- Can HOA Covenants Prohibit Energy–Efficient Improvements Like Solar Panels?The installation of solar panels on a home is important to reduce energy costs, become part of the green movement and ensure there is always at least backup power when a battery is connected to solar powered panels. However, some Homeowners Associations may attempt to stop energy-efficient improvements due to various provisions in the HOA agreement.
- Can My Condo Association Refuse Delivery of Packages?Condo associations may provide a number of convenience services for their tenants, including accepting delivery of packages on tenants’ behalf. However, there may be limitations to these services or times when these services are curtailed. Understanding condo association rules and governing principles can help a person understand his or her rights and options if a service is not provided.
- Can My Landlord Make Me Smoke Outside When My Lease Does Not Mention “No Smoking”?Smoking has become one of the top priorities in removing from all establishments and property due to the adverse effects the smoke has on the house, unit and other persons’ health. Because of this, many landlords have installed smoke detectors, drafted clauses in leases about no smoking and similar actions.
- Special Purpose Entities and Real Estate TransactionsFinancial transactions for real estate deals may go through special purpose entities in order to ensure the funds are secured if the parent company that lends the funds falls.
- Remedies for Landlords when a Dispute with a Tenant ArisesResidential complications often occur when a tenant has a dispute about something. This may be maintenance, the lease terms, parking, utilities or similar matters. However, there are certain remedies available to landlords if disagreements occur depending on the factors of the issue.
- Homeowner Association Problems Solved by a Real Estate LawyerMany communities where homes are sold have homeowners’ associations attached as a service for the neighborhoods surrounding the area. These organizations have bylaws, often contracts and certain rules that the property owners in these locations must abide by.
- 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.
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 - Wikipedia
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.
- 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