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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Homeowners associations can have some interesting rules

A homeowners associate is a group of people who come together to make sure that a neighborhood or specific area stays in good shape. These volunteers come up with rules and guidelines for what is acceptable and what isn't. Unfortunately, you are subjected to these HOA policies if you live in an area that is governed by them.

While there are small differences in every HOA, there are some points that are fairly universal. Here are some considerations:

You can't skirt around them

When you are looking at properties, you need to find out if the ones you are interested in have an HOA governing them. If you purchase one that does, you must find out what type of HOA it is. If it is mandatory, you can't opt out of the HOA. You are required to join it, pay the dues and comply with the rules that it sets forth. If the HOA is voluntary, you can make a decision about whether to join it or not.

Reviewing the rules might help you to make a decision about whether you should purchase the home. If you find some of the requirements and restrictions over the top and don't think they will work for your life, you should bypass the home if the HOA is mandatory.

Scope of control

There are three categories that HOAs handle. These apply to private property that is seen from common areas, as well as those community spaces. The categories include:

  • Common responsibilities like fines and fees
  • Resident behaviors like forbidding loud outdoor parties
  • Architectural compliance like setting acceptable paint colors and fence heights

Residents who have a home in the HOA do have a right to be active with the decisions and compliance. Elections are commonplace in HOAs. These might occur to elect members of committees or to handle changes to the rules of the association. Being active in these can help you to ensure your voice is heard.


When you realize that you don't agree with something that the HOA has decided, you need to make sure that you handle the situation properly. First, continue paying your dues. Failing to pay them can lead to another serious issue that can add to your stress. Second, file your complaints in writing and in accordance with the HOA's policies. Third, decide if the matter is worth a legal battle. Small issues might be best handled through negotiations, but be ready to have a lengthy wait to have the matter resolved.

It is always a good idea to ensure that you know your exact legal rights and responsibilities if you are in a battle with the HOA. This can help you to decide what actions you are going to take.

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