If you purchase property that belongs to an HOA, you can benefit from a variety of perks. Generally, you have access to amenities other homeowners may not have, your neighborhood typically looks great and you may have a close community of neighbors.
HOAs are beneficial for property owners, but only when their rules are legal and valid.
HOAs cannot make rules on a whim
If your HOA makes a rule suddenly, it may not be an enforceable rule. For example, if HOA officers decide that they dislike certain shrubbery, they cannot fine you for it without warning. When you join an HOA, you read the covenants, conditions and restrictions of the community. If the HOA fines you or tries to enforce rules, not within the CC&Rs, those rules are not valid.
HOAs should respect the Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act prohibits any individual or organization from discriminating against people based on their ethnicity, religion, sex or gender. If a homeowners association prevents someone from purchasing a home or unfairly fines individuals due to their membership in a protected group, then the HOA is out of line. Any rules that the HOA tries to enact that appear discriminatory may be illegal.
Keep in mind that HOAs are never above the law. If you feel as though the HOA infringed on your rights as a homeowner, you may be able to demand a hearing before your HOA’s governing board. If this does not work, you can also file a lawsuit against the HOA.