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The powers of an HOA

California residents who live in a home or condominium governed by a homeowners association may be aware that there are rules that everyone agrees to live by. However, those rules must generally be written if they are to be enforced by the association's board. In many cases the association will have rules banning any type of nuisance behavior. Nuisance behavior is often broadly defined as to encompass any type of action that may interfere with a neighbor's peaceful enjoyment of property.

Since the term is so broad, the HOA board should specify exactly what a property owner may have done to constitute being a nuisance. In some cases, actions taken by a property owner that go against HOA rules may subject that person to a fine. However, there must be a published fine schedule, and any fines levied cannot be higher than the amount listed on the schedule.

It may be within the power of an HOA to suspend member voting rights. If there is no specific bylaw dealing with the revocation of voting rights, a hearing may be held to suspend the rights of certain members to vote. Notice of a hearing must be provided 15 days prior to it taking place. As a general rule, advance notice should also be provided if an HOA is planning on enforcing a new rule.

Those who are engaged in a dispute with their HOA may wish to talk to an attorney. While an HOA dispute may be resolved without the need for legal counsel, an attorney may provide suggestions as to how an individual may protect his or her rights. If necessary, an attorney may be willing to represent an individual in court if the HOA violates its own bylaws or violates any existing state statute.

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