The one place that everyone, whether here in California or elsewhere, feels they should be able to be themselves is in their homes. Once you step onto your property, you can "let your hair down" and relax -- or can you?
It may depend on the covenants, conditions and restrictions of your condominium or single-family home community. Most homeowners' or condominium associations put restrictions on personal conduct and home businesses.
What type of personal conduct does your community restrict?
Your HOA or condo board may dictate your behavior in the communities common areas. This includes imposing one or more of the following rules and restrictions, especially in the common areas:
- Disorderly or drunk conduct
- Disturbing the peace
- Dressing appropriately
- Entering someone else's property without permission or unannounced
- Using flood lights in the front or back of your property
- Working on or storing broken down vehicles
Your community may attempt to restrict or even prohibit activities and conduct that impinge on your neighbors' use and enjoyment of their property.
How can your community restrict your home business?
Many people have their own businesses these days, and they run them out of their homes. If you have a home business, the HOA or condo association may restrict what you can and can't do. Communities may prohibit businesses that require a substantial amount of traffic in and out of the neighborhood. These types of businesses bring many unknown people into the neighborhood, which could make those who live there uneasy. There could also be issues regarding zoning and property values.
However, most home businesses these days do not require meeting with clients at home. They may be online, involve crafts or artwork or may involve consulting or writing. More than likely, if your business falls within these types of activities and does not disturb the community, your community should not restrict it.
What can you do if the restrictions are unreasonable?
However, some HOA and condo boards overstep their bounds when it comes to placing restrictions on residents. If you feel that your conduct or business is being unreasonably restricted, you may be right. When you purchased your home, you probably received a copy of the CC&Rs, the rules and the bylaws of your community, which you should read carefully.
After conducting a thorough review, you may find that nothing in your community's CC&R restricts whatever behavior you feel others are attempting to keep you from engaging in. If it turns out that you are being unfairly targeted, it may help to understand your rights and know your legal options.