Can HOAs Enter a Property to Cure a Violation?
No. Georgia law does not permit a board-member, officer, or other agent of an association to trespass upon a member’s property to force compliance with covenants. An association’s remedies against noncompliant members are the penalty mechanisms provided in the declaration and by statute and/or legal proceedings against the noncompliant owner. Further, an association is expressly forbidden from restricting access to a lawful occupant of a home based on alleged noncompliance with association covenants. O.C.G.A. §44-3-223.
One of the issues faced by homeowners living in communities governed by homeowners’ associations is the issue of when either the association itself or another homeowner encroaches on the homeowner’s property. This article is designed to give basic information to homeowners living in these private communities concerning how issues of encroachment affect their use and enjoyment of their property. One thing is imminently clear about case law involving encroachments in HOA communities – this is that disputes of this nature spin out of control and take on a life of their own which can be long, drawn out and expensive for all involved.
Zoning ordinances and HOA covenants often disallow commercial uses of properties in residential areas. A group home that accepts payments for services provided at the home is almost certainly engaging in commercial activity. But, although the plain language of an ordinance or covenant might appear to prohibit such a group home, federal law forbids state and local governments or HOAs from impeding certain protected uses (more on that later). Importantly, there are different categories of group homes, and the laws protecting each home depend in large part on what kind of home is involved.
The obligation for members of an HOA to pay the fees assessed by the HOA primarily comes as a contractual obligation which is created by the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), as well as the Bylaws and Operating Rules of the HOA. The obligation to pay such fees runs with the land/property/condo and as such, the contractual obligation continues on until an HOA property is transferred to the next owner. This article is designed to give members of HOAs basic information concerning HOA Fees and many of the issues that come along with them.
The neatest method of adopting a smoking restriction in an HOA community is to include the smoking policy in the declaration when the association is initially formed. For already-existing associations, though, a new smoking rule will require an amendment to the HOA’s declaration. Typically, this involves approval by member vote, followed by recording of the amended declaration in the county land records. Amendment can require only a simple majority, a super-majority, or even unanimous approval of members – depending on the declaration and state law.
One of the issues faced by homeowners’ associations and their members is what types of rules and regulations can apply to parking within a community. While parking regulations can help to assure that owners have reasonable parking options available to them, they can also be so restrictive that it is difficult to have guests visit. In addition, in some cases, associations that have exerted too much power in this area have begun issuing hefty fines for parking violations which become further bones of contention within members of the community. This article is a basic overview of the HOA’s authority to regulate and enforce parking.
In a condominium building or planned development, the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and the owners each have different obligations with regard to maintaining, repairing, and replacing different parts of the community. If either the HOA or an individual owner doesn’t properly meet those obligations, it can cause problems for that owner, and often for other members of the HOA as well. It’s important to understand who is responsible for which elements of the community, and what rights you have if the HOA isn’t taking care of its responsibilities.
One of the battles that homeowners living in an HOA community face is how to properly handle situations when the homeowner receives a notice of violation from the homeowners’ association. Understanding what the association’s board must do to provide proper notice of a violation is key. In general, a concept of due process, meaning notice and an opportunity to be heard would apply to rules violation processes involving homeowner’s associations. This article is designed to walk members of a homeowners’ association through the processes involved in rules violations.
As a member of a Homeowners’ Association, you probably already know that your community’s governing documents include covenants, rules, and restrictions about how you can (and cannot) use your property. If you break these rules, the association may fine you or force you to comply. If you find yourself at the receiving end of an HOA punishment, you’ll need to know what your rights are. This article will help you understand “selective enforcement” and how it applies to your homeowners’ association and the rules you have to follow.
For homeowners living in homeowners' association communities, one of the questions often asked is what happens when HOA rules are ignored? How do homeowners' associations enforce them? Can a homeowners' association fine owners? How can members of the community respond to violation notices of HOA Rules? These are all issues that individuals who reside in communities governed by homeowners' associations and those who are considering purchasing properties in such communities need to carefully consider.
Rental restrictions undeniably limit the free-use of property. Nonetheless, courts throughout the country have consistently upheld such restrictions when rationally calculated to promote the development’s greater good. Even blanket rental prohibitions have been reluctantly upheld in some states, as long as the association has a legitimate purpose for the restriction. “Legitimate purposes” justifying rental restrictions typically involve maintenance of property values and promotion of community standards. Along with serving a legitimate purpose, to be enforceable a rental restriction must be a “reasonable” means of accomplishing the stated goal. Rental restrictions come in several forms, two of the most popular of which are caps and lease restrictions.
Pets can be a welcome addition to your family. A loyal dog, a comforting cat, or even a calming fish tank can vivify a household and provide a soothing distraction from the daily grind. But, unfortunately, pets can also occasionally become an annoyance to neighbors. Overly abundant cats or noisy dogs negatively affect a development’s quality of life and aesthetic appeal. Aiming to curtail potential nuisances, many homeowners’ associations have adopted pet restrictions within their declarations, establishing rules regulating members’ pet choices and practices. Learn what homeowners' association can (and cannot) do under the law when it comes to enforcing pet restrictions.
Unique to HOAs, the elected board of directors owe a special responsibility to all the dues-paying homeowners, called a fiduciary duty. We have previously written in depth about the different elements of this fiduciary duty, and if you are unfamiliar, that article is certainly worth your time. Simply for this discussion, we just need to know that because of this fiduciary duty that the board owes to member homeowners, the board has a legal obligation to maintain common areas with the same care and diligence that they would apply to their own private property.
Today’s homeowner needs to know how to intelligently take on an HOA board if/when such a dispute may arise. As we will soon discuss, the mistaken judgment in pursuit of a claim against a homeowners' association could result in a five-figure legal bill. To assist if you are in such a problematic scenario, we will describe the three concepts you need to master before taking the fight to your homeowners' association: learning your association's CC&Rs, the relevant law regarding your dispute, and how to craftily pursue a resolution with your association's board.
The enforcement mechanisms of a homeowners’ association may seem a bit arcane and obtuse, but they are important to understanding if either you or a fellow member is accused by the board of violating the rules. There are very specific duties, obligations, and procedures that the board of directors must follow. We will provide the full explanation you need to understand how and why your board of directors is permitted to assess a fine by addressing why associations are granted the power to enforce Bylaws, the necessary procedure to assess a penalty to enforce the rules, and what is considered a “reasonable” fine under the law.
The ability of a homeowners’ association to regulate certain property details, impose obligations on members, and levy fines is governed by a combination of statutory and case law in the jurisdiction where the association is located and the community's governing documents—including articles of incorporation, bylaws, declarations (also known as CC&Rs—Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), and rules and regulations, which contractually bind the homeowner association and its members.