Things to Know About HOAs

General Article

Before signing up for a homeowner’s association, it’s essential to understand what the organization is responsible for and how to proceed. A set of bylaws and CC&Rs governs HOAs. These documents govern the common areas and fees that homeowners are responsible for. You should also familiarize yourself with HOA fees and CC&Rs. Read on for tips and information about HOA fees.

HOA fees

If you’re considering purchasing a home in a homeowners association, it’s essential to understand the types of dues and how they’re calculated. While you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to live in the community, a portion of these dues will go toward the reserve fund, which will cover future repairs or emergency projects. Understanding these fees can help you make an informed decision about whether to purchase the property or not.

The purpose of these fees is to help maintain the common areas and shared structures of a community. These fees may include maintenance of the roof and exterior walls of condos and common areas like parking lots and neighborhood streets. Additionally, homeowners may have to pay for special assessments, such as snow removal. These fees can be beneficial or disadvantageous to the owners. The monthly fees vary depending on the type of HOA with the presence of an HOA lawyer Northern VA you choose, but they are often relatively high.

CC&Rs

When buying a home in a community with CC&Rs, you should be aware of the rules and regulations of the neighborhood. Although most of the time, the dues are in the ordinary course of business, special assessments may be applied for emergencies, such as road reconstruction. When considering the costs of buying a new home, you should consider all of the possible estimates.

CC&Rs may also restrict your property’s appearance. For example, some HOAs limit the color of homes, while others may prohibit certain types or numbers of pets. In addition, you may be required to keep certain items out of sight, such as lawn mowers, or store unwanted objects. The HOA’s CC&Rs are essential to living in a planned community, and it’s important to know the rules before making a purchase.

Bylaws

Whether or not you’re interested in amending the HOA’s bylaws depends on the nature of your proposal. If it involves significant changes, a majority vote will be required. Bylaws are the rules and guidelines by which the HOA operates. They define who can vote and when and set requirements for meeting attendance and the voting body’s makeup. Depending on the HOA, bylaws can specify the meeting location and time.

Bylaws often specify restrictions on noise. For example, HOA rules may dictate that you adhere to certain noise limits if renting a home. You must also notify the HOA if you plan to rent out your home. You can also expect your HOA to impose specific architectural guidelines. For example, you may be required to follow certain heights and materials for fences, and there may be a maximum number of people allowed in a given house. Noise and occupancy limits may also be a part of HOA rules, and HOAs may have designated quiet hours for your home.

Maintenance of common areas

The HOA board has a fiduciary duty to maintain the common areas in the community with the same level of care and attention to detail as they would their private property. If the common areas are neglected, homeowners will be forced to pay to repair them. They may also move out of the neighborhood, live on a public street, or paint their homes in an unfavorable color. Though HOA board members are not always responsible for the negligence of their neighbors, they can’t avoid the resulting damage to the community.

In addition to repairs, regular maintenance can help the HOA budget better. By scheduling work in advance, the board can plan for future maintenance needs and allocate funds accordingly. Another option for maintaining common areas is predictive maintenance. This method involves analyzing common areas and identifying warning signs before they lead to failure. This type of maintenance plan requires constant monitoring of the common areas and components and aims to detect minor problems before they become major.

Pet restrictions

While HOA boards can adopt and enforce pet restrictions, they may not be enforceable against previous owners of a pet. Many boards include a grandfather clause that extends the exceptions for animals for a certain period, such as when the homeowner transfers ownership or when the animal dies. In either case, it is essential to note the grandfather clause’s expiration date and how long it will remain in effect. The board should enforce pet restrictions consistently, except for a lapse in the rule upon property transfers or when a member no longer owns a pet.

If the board cannot convince residents to change the rules, it may file a civil lawsuit against the unit owner and require the pet to be removed from the community. Failure to comply may result in a fine, as the board can take legal action against the resident in contempt. Depending on the size of the HOA, a court order may require the owner to remove the pet from the community. If an individual unit owner doesn’t comply, the association may file a civil lawsuit and get an injunction requiring the resident to remove the pet from the property.