Homeowners living in communities governed by a homeowners’ association (“HOA”) or those considering buying property within an HOA community often wonder what happens if they violate the HOA rules.
It’s a question worth asking.
Before you purchase property within an HOA community, it’s a good idea to know the answer to that question.
In today’s post we aim to give you some general guidance. However, you should do your own independent research before you buy, to make sure you understand what you are getting into and will be happy with your purchase.
Rules, Rules, Rules
When you buy a home in a managed community, you are not just buying a living space. You are actually also buying a bundle of legal obligations and rights.
In exchange for the HOA maintaining the property and enforcing the rules, you agree to pay fees and assessments and to abide by the rules.
When you purchase property in a regulated community, you automatically become a member of the HOA. With that membership comes responsibility. You must abide by the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (“CC&Rs”) and any other rules and regulations that the homeowners’ association has put in place or may put in place.
HOA’s have the power to enforce their rules. The extent of that power depends on state law, what it says in the CC&Rs, and the organization’s bylaws.
Generally speaking, here are 3 things that most HOAs can do to enforce their rules.
1. Levy Fines
Most HOAs have the power to levy fines on members who do not follow the rules.
The ability to levy fines against a homeowner is no small thing. This is because in some states, like Georgia, if you don’t pay the dues and assessments imposed on you by the HOA (or condominium association (“COA”)) the HOA can get a lien on your property that could lead to a foreclosure.
2. File Lawsuits
In Georgia, HOAs have the power to file lawsuits. They can not only file a lawsuit for judicial foreclosure to recover for unpaid fees and assessments, but they can sue a homeowner who violates the rules. Depending on the CC&Rs of your particular HOA, this means that if you violate the parking rules or have the wrong color curtains in your window, you could end up in a lawsuit.
3. Suspension of Voting Rights.
Again, it depends on the exact language of your HOA’s governing documents, but generally speaking, if a homeowner violates the rules or does not pay fees, most HOAs have the power to suspend a member’s right to vote until he/she remedies a violation or cures a delinquency.
Homeowners’ associations provide important services for homeowners. Yet sometimes enforcing the rules can lead to conflict.
When it does…,
We Are Here For You
When it comes to real estate conflicts, questions or concerns, our clients benefit from our experience. For over 30 years we have dedicated ourselves to only one thing: protecting your property rights. If you need help with your real estate matter, call us. We have offices in Cumming, and we serve clients in Atlanta, Gainesville, Gwinnett County, Bartow County, Hall County, Henry County, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, and other counties throughout Georgia. To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or you can e-mail us with inquiries at: firstname.lastname@example.org.