7 Common Rules of Homeowner Association (HOA) You Should Know

Written by Andrew Reichek
  • Feb 18 2019
  • 973

7 Common Rules of Homeowner Association (HOA) You Should Know

HOA’s are relatively new in many communities especially in single family. In fact, many homeowners aren’t aware of what they are, and what purpose they serve. Also known as a Homeowners Association, according to US Legal, it’s an organization of homeowners who live within the same condo community, subdivision and/or planned development.

Back then usually all of the homeowners are located inside a gate or private guarded entrance. However, the market have been changing. Now a day, many homes on public streets are also part of an HOA. The main purpose of this organization is to maintain and improve home property values within the community. Here we have listed 7 common rules that you may find across many of these organizations which you will want to know.

1. You Must Pay your Yearly Assessment.

You Must Pay your Yearly AssessmentAll HOA’s will have a yearly assessment. Then the association will break it down to each individual unit. Collecting the association dues will depend on how it was originally set-up. Some could be monthly, others could be quarterly, semi-annual or some by yearly. Your dues will go towards a variety of common maintenance, improvements and insurance items within the association proximity.

If you have community areas like tennis courts, a swimming pool, walking trails, or a playground, these must be maintain and upkeep accordingly.

Some of these fees will go towards, water cable, insurance, and to maintain security on the property, or even a gate at the front of the property. Many times you will find that these community will contract out a property management company or a third party company to manage.

The yearly assessments also go up over time. Rate increases can create some headaches for everyone. Before you make a decision whether to buy in an association community, it’s always a good idea to request the yearly assessments for an HOA for the last 5 years if possible. This way you can see what kind of accumulation there has been. Please note failure to make payment on the HOA fee can result in a foreclosure on your property just like if you were to miss your mortgage payment.

2. Pets need to be maintained

Pets need to be maintainedHomeowners who own pets need to be extra cautious. Due to shared common space, often fencing is not available between each unit so your pet must be maintain almost at all time. Whether you walk your pet or just having your pet out within your unit. Clean up after your pet is a must. Clean up after your pet is a common courtesy but it’s mandatory if it’s within your association. Say if you get caught not picking up after your pet, you may receive a notice in your mailbox a couple days later.

Loud noise like dog’s barking or party music can also be a nuisance and will be another responsibility to follow. Be sure and also read the guidelines. Again don’t be surprised if you receive a letter from your management company. When homeowners complain, it’s usually the responsibility of the company to notify you in writing.

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3. Keep up the Appearance of your Home (and around)

Keep up the Appearance of your Home (and around)In a single family association community, remember that one of the rules of a homeowners association is to maintain property values. If you allow your grass to grow too high, or don’t properly keep up with your yard, you might be breaking the rules. Some HOA’s will even require you to paint your home if it begins to fade beyond the acceptable condition.

In addition, there may be rules regarding the color of your property or even the type of fencing, and its height. If an owner prefers to veer outside the guidelines he/she will have to be approved by the board. Often time it is a fail proposition.

Often parents who want to have a fort in their backyard that offers playful activities for their kids. This can may be against the guidelines if you’re in a townhome community. Again you will want to be familiar with all the rules.

4. Parkings

ParkingsParked vehicles can be an eyesore, and is a complication across neighborhoods and streets across the country. Plus there is also the issue of where guests park.

Many associations will have instituted a parking policy. If you are potentially thinking about moving into a community with an HOA, ask about the parking issues and rules that you must abide by.  Sometimes the parking is so inadequate, that vehicles will be parked up and down the street, blocking the ability for others to pass by and other owners to even enter or exit their respective garages. Then there are contractors who often in and out repairing air conditioning units, or working on the exterior or interior of the home. No doubt, the rules will also apply to them as well. In fact, parking can be sacred when you’re dealing with a metropolitan community.

5. Clear away the Trash and other Obstacles

Clear away the Trash and other ObstaclesAppearances mean everything inside a single family subdivision. Tree branches lying in the front or side of the yards for too long and it doesn’t seem like the homeowner is going to clean up anytime soon, this can be written up and you will get a notification inform you of your violation. Although this may be solely on the homeowner’s property, it must be dealt with accordingly and promptly. It’s their responsibility to clear away trash and other debris.

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6. Renting out the Home and other Occupancy Rules

Renting out the Home and other Occupancy RulesThere also maybe guidelines regarding renting out the home, and also there may be limits regarding the number of people who can occupy per unit. Many people who are homeowners are now using the services of AirBnB, and other home sharing sites. Make sure to check with your HOA first to see if that’s something allowed. There are a handful of HOA who doesn’t accept long term or short term rental, yet alone AirBnB. An HOA’s responsibility is also to keep up with the ever-changing pace of life and technology.

7. Careless Driving

Careless DrivingVehicle owners and their guests will need to abide by the proper speed limits when accessing the community. Many subdivisions will have speed limits posted around the community. Take note, there are always other homeowners watching. They will record cars coming into the community, as well as their license plate numbers.  And if kids are playing around the subdivision, this can be of real concern. Safety is a top concern for everyone living in the same HOA.

As one can see, considering living in within a Homeowners Association has more rules than one might have previously thought. It’s always recommended to read the entire bylaws, rules and regulation guidelines before purchasing a home in an association. Failure to comply can result in steep fines and even foreclosure.

Then again, note that rules are in place to better the interests of everyone in the community. Property owners is responsible for the practice of living responsibly for their own sake as well as those around them. No doubt all residents will have to learn to live within the rules and maintain cordial relationships.


Again, according to Rentkidz failure to make payment on the HOA fee can result in a foreclosure.

Author: Andrew Reichek

Andrew Reichek is a real estate agent with Lancaster, which assists renters to obtain rental in Houston and Dallas.

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