Nobody likes to be told what to do, but sometimes the rules are there for a reason. Homeowners Associations, commonly known as HOAs, are known for having some of the strangest, strictest, or silliest rules anyone’s ever had to follow. While lots of HOAs have crazy rules, most of them have restrictions aimed at keeping everyone in the association happy and neighborly, while protecting property values. But in what areas does the HOA have power? Here are some examples of rules and restrictions commonly seen in HOAs:
1.House color and appearance. HOAs tend to have rules that concern how things look. In some HOAs, people can only paint their houses certain colors and have to maintain a neat front lawn at all times. An HOA that has these rules can fine someone that lets their lawn get ragged or neglects the paint job on their home until it starts to chip and flake away. Rules like these are meant to constantly keep up curb appeal; although some prefer to ensure a uniform look for the neighborhood.
2.Pets. Some HOAs don’t allow pets at all while some just have rules regarding what kind of pets can be kept. For many, this seems like an example of the overreaching rules that can be imposed with an HOA. With outdoor animals, like dogs, these rules often relate to noise levels and the fact that some animals roam onto other people’s properties.
3.Outdoor furniture and appliances. Having a yard opens up a lot of possibilities like building barbeque pits or playsets. Or even something simple like a clothes line so your laundry can have that air dried smell without a dryer sheet. Unfortunately, a lot of HOAs have rules about what can be set up in either yard; back or front. Some HOAs even specify that drying can’t take place outdoors and have slapped fines on homeowners for hanging towels up on their lawn furniture. HOAs that enforce this rule say it has to do with safety and insurance premiums so if you’re looking to move into a neighborhood with an HOA make sure to get a free homeowner’s insurance quote before you do. Often times, insurance companies will side with the HOA since they both like to err on the safe side.
4.Parking and driveway cleanliness. Garages get used for a variety of things. Some people never use their garage as a place to put their car. HOA rules that cover where you’re allowed to leave your car and where your guests are allowed to leave their cars may require you to park in your garage even if your car doesn’t fit. As for the subject of what your driveway should look like, some HOAs demand a driveway free of oil stains or other fluids that might spill when someone is working on their car.
5.Noises and parties. A rule that most residents probably find useful is the one that makes it clear to residents when noise needs to be kept to a minimum. A lot of living situations have quiet hours as an unwritten rule but HOAs actually enforce it.
Some of you may be wondering why anyone would want to move into a neighborhood where they had to deal with an HOA. The truth is that the HOA always takes care of a lot of things so the residents don’t have to. They arrange block parties and deal with all the permitting, they make sure that snow removal takes place in a timely fashion, and even take care of things like dead trees that could become a hazard.
If you’re considering a move that would put you in an HOA then consider what you want out of a neighborhood. Like most things, there are pros and cons to HOAs so do your research and get all the information you can before making a decision that will affect you for as long as you keep your home.