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Consider HOA regulations before buying a home

Prospective California home buyers who are interested in a community development may want to consider whether they are comfortable with its homeowners association regulations before moving ahead with the purchase. Designed to maintain a level of functionality and uniformity, the HOA may regulate the use and care of a development's shared amenities as well as the portions of its neighborhood that are privately owned.

While doing their homework, would-be buyers may find that the particular set of covenants, codes and restrictions that governs one common interest development may not be the same as the set of CC&Rs that governs another. A homeowners association could regulate anything from the colors of paint that can be used on a building's exterior to the types of play equipment that can be kept in its yard, so buyers may want to decide if they can live with any applicable regulations as early in the home-buying process as possible.

While reviewing the HOA regulations, buyers may also want to consider the amount of the required monthly fees, which may also noticeably vary among properties. Fee policies, which are determined by each CID and its governing association, may allow the development to levy special assessments on homeowners to cover a share of repairs and renovations on the common elements, and under some circumstances, that assessment amount may be high.

In some situations, the HOA's set of governing documents may be unclear, or a homeowner may feel threatened if faced with foreclosure in the event that the required fees go unpaid. When a satisfactory resolution to a homeowner dispute has proven to be elusive without legal help, separate interest property owners in California may want to seek counsel before the dispute is able to escalate any further. With the attorney's assistance, the difficult situation could in some cases be effectively resolved outside of the courtroom.

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