There are countless benefits to living in a homeowners association. Foremost among them is the preservation of property values. The basic function of the HOA is to help each owner within the community maintain the value of their home, partly by ensuring high standards of uniformity and aesthetic excellence in how each home is kept. In other words, the HOA Board of Directors must implement certain rules and restrictions, and complying with those rules and restrictions is to the benefit of the entire community.
The question is, what types of restrictions can HOA Board members implement? The most common HOA restrictions fall into a few basic categories, including restrictions regarding pets, noise, rentals, parking, and more.
To learn more about the kinds of regulations your Board can implement, it’s ideal to speak with your community management company. If your HOA is based in the Carolinas, feel free to reach out to Kuester Management Group. We’re happy to provide community association management in Charlotte NC, Huntersville NC, Myrtle Beach SC, and HOA management in Fort Mill SC.
Common HOA Restrictions
Any restrictions enforced by your Board should be carefully outlined in your community’s governing documents. It’s the HOA’s responsibility to ensure that the terms of these restrictions are properly communicated to homeowners, and that any violations are dealt with in a fair, consistent, and impartial manner.
So what are some specific examples of HOA restrictions? Here are a few of the most typical categories.
While HOAs pretty much always allow pets, it’s important for everyone to consider how their pets may interfere with the peace and harmony of their neighbors. It’s common for HOA governing documents to include provisions that specify the need for leashes any time an animal is outside, or to implement restrictions on barking and other forms of noise after-hours. Additionally, HOAs may prohibit homeowners from owning certain types of pets, including “exotic” animals as well as more aggressive animals that could present legal liability issues.
HOAs may also prohibit unit owners from renting their homes, basements, or guest rooms via platforms like Airbnb. Such restrictions are in place largely to help homeowners avoid the wide range of issues that a steady stream of renters can bring–issues like noise, parking problems, inconsistency with maintenance, and the general sense of danger and uncertainty that having so many strangers in the community might bring.
Community rules may also include basic occupancy limits, dictating how many individuals may live within each home. These restrictions are usually informed by concerns about fire safety, but also concerns about parking.
Basic homeowner rights dictate that everyone should be allowed to throw the occasional party. However, to ensure everyone in the HOA can live peaceably together, it’s also important for the current Board to enforce any noise restrictions that are on the books, limiting rowdy and rambunctious behavior between certain hours of the day.
In the typical HOA, parking space is quite limited. To ensure every homeowner has a place for their vehicle, and also to keep cars from piling up in community common areas, most HOAs will impose parking restrictions.
How Can the HOA Enforce Rule Violations?
It’s critical for every HOA to have their rules and restrictions clearly outlined in its governing documents, providing homeowners with a straightforward record of what’s expected of them.
It’s also important for the rules to be enforced as fairly as possible, avoiding even the appearance of selective enforcement or of favoritism.
There are multiple ways for an HOA Board to deal with violations:
- Often, simply providing a written warning/reminder is sufficient. More often than not, rule infractions are completely unintentional.
- For recurring infractions, a small fee can be assessed to the homeowner’s account.
- For more extreme circumstances, the Board might consider suspending the homeowner’s privileges within the community, such as barring them from common areas.
- Liens and legal action are last resorts.
- The community management company may be called upon to help with mediation or dispute resolution.
The bottom line: It’s essential for HOAs to be clear about the restrictions that govern their community, and to enforce those restrictions as consistently as possible. For help, don’t hesitate to contact your homeowner association management company.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the meaning of HOA guidelines?
HOA guidelines are regulations regarding the upkeep of homes and lawns; pets; parking; noise levels; occupancy; and use of HOA amenities, among other things.
Who regulates HOAs in NC and SC?
In each place, the Secretary of State has some oversight over HOA communities. In NC, in particular, HOA Boards are encouraged to check out the North Carolina Planned Community Act.