What are the Rules for my HOA?
Author Attorney Peter J. Curran
A homeowner association, commonly known as an HOA, is an organization of property owners in the same subdivision, condominium, or community which makes and enforces rules for the properties and owners. The level of restriction imposed by these rules can vary considerably from HOA to HOA.
There are commonly three levels of rules and restrictions for an HOA. The first level is a document commonly called a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. This document is often prepared by the developer of the subdivision, condominium, or community and is recorded with the county’s Register of Deeds. The declaration sets forth the majority of the powers, rights, and responsibilities of the association and its members.
In addition to the declaration, the association may also have bylaws which supplement the rules and regulations set forth in the declaration. Bylaws may not contradict the declaration and are subject to the authority of the declaration.
Finally, the bylaws may provide that the association can have additional rules and regulations which apply to the association members. These are subject to the authority of the declaration and bylaws, and commonly handle smaller day-to-day matters.
Can the rules change? Yes. The declaration and bylaws set forth the conditions which need to be met to enact a change, usually including a vote of a certain percentage of the owners.
If you have any questions regarding the rules for your association or are looking to review the rules before purchasing property subject to an association, you should contact an experienced attorney to assist with identifying and interpreting them.