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Common Questions About Homeowners’ Associations

Whether you are considering buying a home or you already have a property subject to homeowners’ association (HOA) policies, it is important to understand how an HOA functions.

Tilchin & Hall, P.C., can help you understand your rights as a homeowner and the extent of control that an HOA may have over your property. If you have questions, we can give you personalized answers through email or at 248-349-6203.

How Is An HOA Formed?

During the development of a neighborhood, the HOA is typically created to function in conjunction with the properties. Residents may also choose to create an HOA after the homes are complete, although this situation is less common.

Do I Have To Be A Part Of My HOA?

It depends. Sometimes, buyers must agree to become part of the HOA during the transaction when they sign the closing papers. If you are part of the HOA, you can choose to be active or inactive with participation in meetings and decisions, but you are still subject to the rules. In other cases, membership may be optional.

Therefore, reading the fine print of your home purchase documents is critical. Having an attorney with you during the transaction can help you understand whether you would be subject to certain rules – and how those rules might prevent you from using the property as you intend.

What Powers Does An HOA Have?

An HOA could control a variety of aspects, including:

  • Maintenance of communal spaces such as paths or parks
  • The external appearance of your home, including lawn care, paint color and the display of flags or symbols
  • Garbage collection and management of other neighborhood services
  • Restrictions on fire pits, grills, pools and outdoor activities on your property
  • Whether you can rent out your home or list it on Airbnb

However, an HOA or its individual members cannot do certain things such as discriminate, breach agreements or violate HOA bylaws. The HOA is also responsible for fulfilling their obligations to its members.

When Can An HOA Foreclose On A House?

Even if you pay your mortgage payments, the HOA could foreclose your home if you do not pay the association fees. However, the HOA must follow the correct procedures to acquire a lien on the property and notify you ten days or more in advance of the foreclosure proceeding. There may be ways to prevent foreclosure, but homeowners must act quickly after receiving notice.