Every homeowners’ association (HOA) has a set of rules that governs what community members can do with their properties. Different communities may require different kinds of regulations based on the expectations of local homeowners and other factors.
However, there are a handful of rules that are almost universally beneficial for HOAs and the people who live in these neighborhoods. These are some of the rules that virtually every HOA should consider including in their agreements with property owners.
Rules about property maintenance
Arguably the most important rules related to residences inside an HOA community relate to how people maintain their homes. Often, there are limits on the colors that people can use for siding or roofing materials. There may be rules about additions to the property, lawn maintenance or even how long people leave their trash bins at the curb. Such rules help ensure a consistent character in the community and preserve property values.
Rules about property rental
Short-term rentals can be a scourge for any community. People could rent a house for two nights just to throw a raucous party that inconveniences everyone else nearby. Even long-term rentals can alter the characteristics of a community if landlords do not engage in appropriate background checks and management of their homes.
HOA communities often impose rules related to how long a lease can last and will also enforce the maintenance obligations for landlords just like they will for owner-occupied properties.
Rules about behavior in shared spaces
Does the HOA provide a gym with machinery? Is there a shared pool or outdoor athletic facilities, like tennis courts? There may need to be very clear rules about how people utilize such spaces and when the community can restrict or eliminate access to them.
Rules about enforcement
Some of the most important terms in an agreement between an HOA and a community member will have to do with how the HOA enforces rules. From a clear explanation of when someone might lose access to community amenities to explanations of the fees the community may assess for infractions, it is crucial to have rules that will align the expectations of homeowners with the likely actions of the local HOA.
Adding thoughtful terms to new HOA agreements and updating existing rules can benefit those who are trying to preserve property values and protect the positive qualities of their planned community.