Do You Have to Join a Homeowner’s Association?
Oct 13, 2021 11:09 AM EDT
If you have just bought a new home in a planned community, a subdivision, or a condo, you are probably very excited for the move and the life that awaits you and your loved ones in this new location. You might not have considered the whole idea of belonging to a homeowner's association and what that entails.
It is common for plenty of residential communities to have a homeowner's association. This association aims to help maintain a certain standard and a cohesive atmosphere within the neighborhood.
Homeowners associations, or HOAs as they are also known, are beneficial to homeowners because they spare them from some of the responsibilities associated with homeownership, such as landscaping and maintaining the property's common elements. On the other hand, they also come with certain obligations and rules that owners must abide by. That is why it is very important for you to have answers to your most pressing doubts and questions regarding your particular HOA before deciding to buy into the planned community.
When you move into a subdivision or community, you are expected to join its HOA. This means that you have to pay a fee designed to cover the expenses of keeping the common areas and shared spaces in good condition. However, membership in an HOA also means that you have to follow their rules, restrictions, and covenants. These may dictate the color you can paint your home and your front door and many other stipulations.
In some cases, the answer to this question boils down to your personal finances, whether you are a fan or not of shared amenities, how high your tolerance for rules is, and how comfortable you are living in a place where you have to follow regulations established by your neighbors.
Although in some HOAs, participation is voluntary, the great majority of them call for mandatory membership. This means that you are obligated to pay all fees, including special assessments, and agree to comply with the rules and conditions that have been put in place to maintain community standards.
If you move into a community where no HOA exists and is created once you have lived there for some time, you may get away with not joining. In other cases, where an HOA existed when you moved in but joining was voluntary and that changes along the way to make it obligatory, you may have a tough time opting out and, if you sell, the new owners will likely be obligated to join.
An HOA lawyer is an important element in every homeowner's association. They not only read through and advise on all governing documents, but they can assist in ensuring compliance. They play a role in establishing new rules and conditions, aid with collections, and provide legal representation.
Working with the right HOA lawyer may mean that there are fewer disagreements between members, and the community can focus on providing a better standard of living to all its residents.