California residents who may have issues with their homeowners association should know that the HOA has to be in compliance with the law regardless of what the HOA board states. The HOA is prohibited by state and federal regulations from illegally restricting its homeowners.
For example, a homeowner association has to adhere to the Fair Housing Act and may not discriminate against homeowners. This means that the rules the HOA board creates and enforces cannot disadvantage anyone belonging to one of the groups specified in the Fair Housing Act. The HOA cannot prevent individuals from buying a home in the area because of the color of their skin or expel them because they may practice a certain religion.
There are typically state-level laws that provide additional protections. California, for instance, has laws that protect homeowners from discrimination based on their gender identity and sexual orientation.
HOAs also cannot prevent homeowners from using a clothesline to dry their clothing. Some HOAs may restrict this activity because an assortment of clothes may not appear uniform. However, laws in nearly half of the states in the country protect a person's right to dry clothes using a clothesline, making the covenants, conditions and restrictions of HOAs that prohibit the use of clotheslines unenforceable.
Another reason homeowners may have issues with their HOA is fines. While HOA are allowed to assess fines, the assessment of fines must be in accordance with the bylaws and rules of the association. Before paying a fine, homeowners should verify that the fine is listed in the community's covenants, conditions and restrictions.
An attorney who practices real estate law may assist clients with resolving disputes with their HOA. Litigation might be used to protect the rights and interest of clients involved in a HOA dispute regarding unenforceable covenants, conditions and restrictions.