Buying a house in California can be a complicated process that is especially confusing for first-time purchasers. During the process, many new buyers sign homeowner's association agreements without reading through them carefully. HOA agreements are especially common in condos and housing developments, and some of the provisions contained in these agreements can feel a bit restrictive for some people.
It is very important to read HOA agreements before signing one and going forward with a home purchase. If people aren't careful, they could agree to some things that will seriously inconvenience them at a later date. For example, many HOAs do not allow homeowners to operate home businesses, so a home-based business owner could be forced to rent office space if they live in an area that is regulated by an HOA.
Another common HOA restriction that can be a deal breaker for some home buyers is the restriction on pets. There may be a rule specifying a maximum weight or prohibiting certain breeds. Many HOAs also have restrictions on nighttime noise that require homeowners to turn the volume down at a specified hour. Patios, clotheslines and hardwood floors are other things that are often restricted by HOAs.
If a homeowner violates the terms of the HOA agreement that was signed, the HOA will typically send warning notices before taking legal action. However, there are sometimes cases where an HOA will issue fines without giving the homeowner sufficient warning. In other cases, a homeowner may disagree with the HOA's interpretation of a provision in the agreement. People who are embroiled in these types of HOA disputes may want to have legal assistance in reaching a settlement.