Like all things, homeowners associations (“HOAs”) have both good things and bad things about them. The HOA typically results in a well maintained area along with a host of other benefits (from pre-paid utilities, to security, and even insurance), but the terms they impose on their residents can sometimes feel overbearing to say the least. Luckily, there are a number of rules regulating what an HOA can, and cannot get away with.
At the outset, HOAs cannot prevent people from moving in based on their race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc. Oddly, an HOA can’t prevent you from drying your clothes on a clothesline (“solar drying” because why not – California Civil Code sections 707-714.5). Moreover, HOAs can’t fine you for just any reason; the reason must be clearly stated in your conditions covenants and restrictions document (“CC&Rs”). On a related point, HOAs can’t simply enact new rules in order to begin fining you, there are procedures listed in your CC&Rs that set forth the process required to implement new rules.
While this is not a legal article, there are a number of other statutory violations an HOA can be held responsible for in a court of law, including: (1) the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (California Civil Code sections 4000, et seq., (2) oppressive CC&Rs, (3) issues relating to services, amenities, or maintenance issues, (4) issues with the property management company, (5) issues involving parking and towing, (6) issues regarding dues, citations, or assessments, (7) issues relating to foreclosures, and (8) poor management, or negligent handling of corporate assets.
Another important thing to consider when thinking about buying a property in an HOA is that lenders often have specific HOA requirements like money in the reserves, ratio of tenants to owners/users, and more. Make sure you thoroughly review both the HOA documents and your lenders requirements before you move forward with purchasing a home in an HOA.
At the Chernov Team we understand that knowledge is power, and knowledge of what HOAs are legally allowed to do is powerful knowledge indeed. At the Chernov Team we know that whoever comes to the table most prepared leaves with the most, and the Chernov Team always leaves the table with the most.