Many neighborhoods in California have a Homeowners' Association, and the intent of these organizations is to preserve the integrity and quality of life for the people who live in these communities. However, HOAs can overstep their bounds and ultimately violate the rights of the property owners. As a homeowner, it is in your interests to learn more about what your HOA can and cannot do.
When you moved into your neighborhood, you probably received a document that explained the HOA bylaws, fees, procedures and more. It is smart to carefully review this document, which can help you understand the function of your HOA and what to do if there is a problem. Knowing your rights and where the authority of the HOA ends is the first step in protecting your home.
What do HOAs regulate?
What an HOA can regulate varies widely from neighborhood to neighborhood. This is why it is extremely helpful to review all documents and information you have regarding this neighborhood organization. Some of the aspects commonly regulated by HOAs include the following:
- Whether homeowners can have pets
- Noise levels
- How many cars can be in the driveway or parked on the street
- Fences and types of landscaping visible from the road
- Exterior paint colors
- Whether homeowners can have home-based businesses
- Shingles and siding types and options
- Whether a homeowner can have a tool shed
- Types of mailboxes
Some neighborhoods go as far as to regulate the age of people permitted to use the community pool and whether a property owner can fly an American flag. It is common for an HOA to cite an owner for something that either is not really against the rules or stems from a poor interpretation of the rules.
What can you do?
If you think your HOA violated your rights and is acting unfairly toward you or other homeowners in your neighborhood, you can fight back. Discrimination, harassment and violations of your property rights are unacceptable, and it is sometimes necessary to confront these actions by pursuing a civil claim.
If you believe that legal action is the most beneficial way to resolve your issue with the HOA and protect your rights, you may find it helpful to first seek a complete evaluation of your case. This step can allow you to clearly understand your rights and how you can move forward to a beneficial resolution that allows you to enjoy your home as you see fit.