The Legal Rights of Homeowners in an HOA

Homeowners associations (or HOAs) are a two-pronged entity, acting as both landlords and small government-like powers. That being said, there are rules and rights in line that keep HOAs from becoming dictatorial in their operations. Homeowners should know that they have certain rights that they can legally hold against HOA’s that intend to push their weight around.

While homeowners must respect the policies in place, they should be aware of just how protected they are under law. One way they can be protected is to look into HOA insurance programs that offer guidance and coverage against possible legal issues. Another way is to know the provided rights, and as an insurer, it’s important that you and your clients have an understanding of what residents’ fundamental rights are. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Discrimination

According to the Fair Housing Act, an HOA cannot fine homeowners or bar them (or just make it difficult for them) to buy a house in their neighborhood due to race or ethnicity. There was a time when this sort of thing was common practice, but in recent decades HOAs have found themselves on the other side of the law and litigation.

HOAs can’t also expel residents from their homes because they don’t agree with their religion, sexual orientation, social status, or other protected class. Essentially, all walks of life should be welcome and if there is any semblance of discrimination against them then there are bound to be legal ramifications.

Random Fines

HOAs have been known to slap hidden and unknown fees on residents seemingly out of nowhere. Residents have every legal right to test if they are being fined for something they feel is unwarranted and out of line. Homeowners can appeal certain fines by making sure they have what they feel is a right to, then gathering evidence to protest these rights at the next board meeting. Homeowners shouldn’t just roll over on everything that is sent in. It’s okay to cross-check fines, just to make sure everything is above board. After all, it’s the homeowner’s bottom line.

Creating Rules Out of Nowhere

An HOA can’t just create new rules without proper notice to the community it serves. If certain color houses aren’t allowed anymore, they HOA must inform all residents in a timely manner. Insurance agents should make it known to homeowners that they should check their rights and property contract to see that they should be given adequate notice of changes in rules. The way in which new rules are enacted should be outlined in such contracts and agreements before a homeowner signs them. If they do suspect that an HOA is being shady, insurance agents should encourage them to study their contract.

 

About Kevin Davis Insurance Services

For over 35 years, Kevin Davis Insurance Services has built an impressive reputation as a strong wholesale broker offering insurance products for the community association industry. Our president Kevin Davis and his team take pride in offering committed services to the community association market and providing them with unparalleled access to high-quality coverage, competitive premiums, superior markets, and detailed customer service. To learn more about the coverage we offer, contact us toll-free at (877) 807-8708 to speak with one of our representatives.

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