Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) are common entities in many neighborhoods and communities across the United States. They offer an array of benefits including the preservation of property values, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the community, and offering amenities like community pools, clubhouses, or parks. While HOAs certainly have their advantages, they also come with sets of regulations and rules that homeowners must adhere to. Understanding these rules and avoiding violations can save homeowners from unnecessary fines and strained relationships within the community. Here, we will delve into the most common HOA violations and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Fines vary from $30 to $150, and some communities even have daily $20 fines. The best way to know about the rules and regulations is to attend the monthly community board meetings. The professionals at the Local Records Office created a list of how to avoid being fined in Homeowners Association (HOA) communities.

1. House Design Changes

One of the top HOA violations involves making changes to the exterior of a property without seeking proper approvals. These modifications can range from minor alterations, like painting the house a new color, to major renovations such as installing solar panels or making structural changes. To avoid fines, it’s critical that homeowners thoroughly review their HOA’s architectural guidelines and submit any necessary paperwork before starting any exterior project.

2. Smoking Cigarettes, Marijuana, or Vaping

Even though smoking marijuana has become legal in many states, not everyone is okay with smoking in public, many people still see it as an illegal drug. Smoking marijuana and or cigarettes might not get you arrested but it can get you fined if you smoke too close to your neighbors.

“Either someone smokes or they don’t, there isn’t anything in between. I’ve been told by residents that they despite the smell of cigarettes and especially marijuana. If a neighbor complains about the smoking habits you have a high chance of getting fined” says, Leonardo Patterson from Seven to Twenty Four Real Estate in Downtown Los Angeles, California.

3. Pets

Pets are often another common source of HOA violations. These might involve having more pets than allowed, owning prohibited breeds, or not cleaning up after pets. Homeowners should be aware of the pet policies in their HOA agreements and make sure they adhere to the rules.

4. Renting Out Your Home

With the popularity of temporary home rental websites like Airbnb, Curbed, VRBO, FlipKey, and Homestay many people are looking to make a quick buck especially when residents have an extra room.

If you want to temporarily rent out one of your rooms or your entire home you will need written permission to do so since renters are most likely to not be aware of the Homeowners Association (HOA) rules.

“Making extra cash on the side is fine, but having temporary residents disturb the other residents in the community is not okay. You need to be very careful in who you rent to and you will need to tell them about the Homeowners Association (HOA) ahead of time” says, Aaron Barron from DEF Real Estate Association in Downtown Los Angeles, California.

5. Parking Violations

Parking is a common issue in HOA-governed communities. Rules may restrict where you can park, how many vehicles you can have, and even what types of vehicles are allowed. Be aware of the HOA’s parking rules to avoid fines, and ensure your guests are also informed.

Preventing HOA Violations

Prevention is always the best approach when dealing with potential HOA violations. Here are some key strategies:

Thoroughly Understand Your HOA Rules: When you first move into an HOA community, ensure you read and understand the rules, regulations, and guidelines. These documents outline what is expected of homeowners and provide a roadmap to avoid fines.

Communicate with Your HOA: If you’re unsure about a particular rule or planning to make changes to your property, reach out to your HOA board or management. They can provide clarity on regulations or guide you through necessary approvals.

Be a Good Neighbor: A significant part of living in an HOA community is maintaining good relationships with your neighbors. Respecting shared spaces, controlling noise levels, and being mindful of your neighbors’ peace and privacy can go a long way in avoiding complaints and potential fines.

Living in an HOA community can provide many benefits, but it also comes with responsibilities. By understanding and adhering to your HOA’s rules and regulations, you can enjoy the perks of your community without the worry of violations and fines.