A homeowners association (HOA) is an organization that manages and regulates a community or neighborhood of houses or condominiums. An HOA aims to establish and enforce rules and guidelines to maintain a uniform and desirable appearance of the neighborhood, ensure the common areas and amenities are maintained, and help preserve property values.
Quality of Life
The importance of homeowners associations lies in the fact that they provide a framework for cooperation and collaboration among community residents. By establishing rules and regulations, the HOA can ensure everyone is on the same page regarding maintaining the neighborhood’s appearance and quality of life. This can lead to a greater sense of community and a higher quality of life for all residents.
HOAs also help to protect property values by enforcing rules and guidelines that prevent residents from engaging in behaviors that could negatively impact property values. For example, an HOA might establish rules regarding the types of buildings or improvements that can be made to a property, or rules regarding the types of businesses that can be operated within the community. By enforcing these rules, the HOA can help maintain a consistent level of quality and desirability within the community, leading to higher property values.
Beyond rule enforcement, many HOAs are also responsible for maintaining common areas within the community. The scope of these responsibilities varies by HOA but can range from mowing grass to maintaining streets and some structures such as community centers, pools, or parks.
While some HOA activity may appear redundant with local governments, Home Owner’s Associations are non-governmental organizations. They are established, and their enforcement power is granted contractually. When moving into a community with an HOA, part of the legalese is an agreement to abide by the HOA covenants and by-laws. Property can only be transferred to new owners who agree to this as part of the property sale.
Know the HOA Covenants & By-Laws
Before finalizing a new home purchase, buyers should obtain the HOA covenants, read them thoroughly, and ask any questions that arise. Failure to understand the rules of the community can lead to conflict with neighbors and potential fines from the HOA.
Ironically, one of the attributes that may make a neighborhood aesthetically appealing to new buyers can also be a source of frustration once they’ve moved in. Some HOAs regulate the colors of elements of the home, the types of exterior lighting, or plants. This has the impact of creating a visually appealing community. But, once moved in, a homeowner may want to paint trim a color the HOA disapproves of or wants a certain type of tree that is unacceptable to the HOA. This leads some homeowners to conflict with the HOA and their neighbors.
As mentioned above, Home Owners Associations are responsible for enforcing the adherence to the Covenants & By-Laws. Since these are non-government organizations, the enforcement is done through fines and, if necessary, court. If the Conenants may be too restrictive for a potential homeowner, it would be best to look for neighborhoods more aligned with how they would like to live.
Once you are ready to move to your new community, let us help you. Contact us for a free moving quote.