California residents and others who live in areas governed by a homeowners association need to remain current on its rules and regulations. Failure to do so could result in fines or other charges regardless of how minor the violation may seem to a homeowner. There are many common types of violations that residents may commit, such as driving too fast through the neighborhood. HOA fines could be added on top of any imposed by local authorities.
Many residents of California reside within a community controlled by a homeowners association. An HOA collects dues from the residents and helps maintain the aesthetic standards for the neighborhood with the goal of preserving the value of the properties in the community.
A homeowners association is an organization in a neighborhood that makes and enforces rules within the community. Property owners automatically become members when they purchase a home within the neighborhood and must pay dues to the HOA. Some California HOAs are very restrictive about what a homeowner can do with their property.
The English wit G.K. Chesterton once observed, "We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbor." While this may or may not be true, it sometimes seems that divine intervention is the only way to resolve disputes regarding a California homeowner's property rights coming into direct conflict with those of the next door neighbor.
In Chula Vista, California, abandoned cars can be towed if they aren't moved within 72 hours. Generally, police will mark the spot where a car was parked and leave a notice for the vehicle owner to move it within the allotted time. One homeowners' association in Montecito felt the need to remind residents that they don't own the parking spots in front of their homes.
A 71-year-old man in La Costa has received notice from his homeowners association that his signs protesting immigration policies violate the community's codes, covenants and rules. He disputes the allegation that he broke any rules with the printed signs that measure about 30 inches across. They are taped on the inside of his front windows.
California residents may understand what it feels like to be in a dispute with a neighbor. However, a recent episode in Wyoming shows how disputes can turn into major legal issues. The Cody Ranchettes Homeowners' Association, which is in Powell, Wyo., asked a judge to compel a couple who lives in the HOA to conform with rules regarding exterior house colors. In its complaint, the HOA claims that the home has been painted in four different colors when association rules say that only one color is allowed on the walls and one on the trim.
Some homeowners associations in California are well known to micromanage property owners. The four-year legal battle between a man and a Virginia HOA illustrates this issue. His lawsuit is scheduled for trial as he defies the association's demand that he mow his meadow. He maintains that the 2 acres at the rear of his 5.6 acre parcel serve as habitat for native plants and animals. The HOA has repeatedly ordered him to mow the area.
California residents who live in communities that have homeowners associations might be interested to learn that several board members at a HOA in Florida resigned following a dispute over a resident's Little Free Library. Little Free Libraries are part of a movement started in 2009 in which little structures are built in neighborhoods where people can leave or take books.
California residents who live in neighborhoods run by homeowners associations understand that there are rules that must be followed. One woman in Indiana is selling her home after the Silver Springs HOA ruled that her fish ponds were prohibited above ground pools. The owner of the property said that she used the fish to help with anxiety issues. However, the HOA filed a lawsuit against her in May 2018 saying that she continued to violate its bylaws.