When you buy a home, you are probably full of excitement about plans for the future. Perhaps you want to install a pool for your kids or erect a swing set. Maybe you want to paint the house a different color or redo the landscaping. You may even have your American flag ready to hang proudly by your garage door. Before you move forward with any of these plans, you may want to check with your HOA rules.
Homeowners' associated are in place in many California communities in order to keep up the look of the neighborhood, maintain the common areas, take care of property-related issues and protect the value of the homes. HOAs often have strict rules regarding what homeowners can and cannot do, and you would be wise to take the time to understand these rules more closely.
Reasons for HOA disputes
You may be tempted to simply sign the agreement with your HOA and move on, but it's in your interests to know what's in this contract. This can keep you from getting involved in a legal dispute, and it can also help you protect your interests in the event that an HOA violates your rights. Some of the most common reasons residents find themselves at odds with their HOA include the following:
- Design disputes for anything on the outside of the home
- Pet ownership, service dogs, support dogs and types of dogs allowed
- Playhouses and swing sets in the backyard
- American flag displays
- Unkempt yards and dead landscaping
- Failure to maintain common areas
- HOA fee increases
The line between the authority of the HOA and the homeowner's rights is not always perfectly clear. This can lead to legal disputes, especially over issues that the contract may not specifically mention. In any situation where you believe your property rights may be at stake, you may want to seek legal guidance regarding how you can fight back.
Your home, your decision – right?
There is significant benefit in reading everything before you sign on the dotted line, especially if it is an HOA agreement that will affect you as long as you live in that neighborhood. If you think your HOA is unfairly punishing you or trying to limit your rights as a homeowner, you may want to see legal guidance. It is possible to fight back and confront unfair actions, but it can be a lengthy and complex process.