Living within an HOA community means following rules. What happens when the HOA crosses the line, though? If they make up rules as they go or discriminate against a homeowner? Do you have rights?
Fortunately, the law governs HOAs. They can’t do whatever they feel is right. You have rights too. Keep reading to learn how to exercise those rights.
This is a big one. If you feel that you were treated unfairly based on your gender, race, capabilities, or any other demographic, fight it. An HOA cannot refuse to sell you a home, fine you, or make any other decisions based on your demographics. If you have proof of discrimination, talk with an attorney.
Threaten Fines for Miscellaneous ‘Violations’
Unless the HOA handbook states a specific violation, the HOA can’t fine you. In other words, they can’t drive past your property and decide they don’t like your décor and fine you. Unless your décor flat out violates a rule in the handbook, they can’t do anything about it.
They can take it to the next board meeting and try to vote in different guidelines, but that takes time. Until then, don’t assume every threatening letter or fine you receive is legit. Look up the rules and fight the fine if you don’t see any wrongdoing.
Creating Rules on the Fly
Piggybacking on the above issue, HOA representatives can’t make rules up as they go either. They can’t decide they don’t like something and make it a rule. It has to be uniform throughout the development. Again, if it’s not stated in the handbook, it’s not a violation.
Sure, they want a uniform appearance, but that doesn’t mean not letting homeowners enjoy their own property. The HOA rules are set up so that homeowners can decide if it’s something they can live with before buying the property. Making rules up as they go isn’t okay.
Advance Notice of Meetings
All HOAs must provide advance notice of any HOA meetings, even last minute meetings. Every member should have ample time to plan to attend, if they wish. Holding a meeting in secret is against the rules. All meetings must be open to all members, should they decide to come.
HOAs are supposed to be uniform and fair. They help homeowners keep the area looking neat and uniform. They also provide common areas for everyone to enjoy. Treating everyone the same, sticking to the rules in the handbook, and providing ample notice of meetings is one of the best ways to keep an association running smoothly.