When you move into a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association, it is in your interests to know what an HOA does and what it can control. As a homeowner, it’s in your interests to know what you’re agreeing to and what it could mean if there is a dispute. HOAs typically regulate and oversee the management and use of common areas, shared amenities and some areas of private property in a neighborhood.
The intent of an HOA is to preserve the look of the neighborhood and protect the quality of life for those who live there. In most cases, the HOA manages a neighborhood pool, provides maintenance for common flowerbeds, keeps the entrance area looking nice and more. It can also oversee certain aspects of what homeowners can and cannot do with their homes in order to maintain the overall appearance of the neighborhood. Before you sign an HOA agreement, you will want to look closely at the terms.
What your HOA can do
Every neighborhood is different, and the things your HOA may try to regulate are specific to the type of community where you live. Some HOAs are quite strict regarding the look of the homes and what residents can do, while others may simply require owners to maintain the outside of their homes on a regular basis. Your HOA may regulate the following things:
- Fences, shrubs and landscaping you have on the outside of the house
- Whether owners can have basketball hoops and swing sets
- The look of mailboxes and tool sheds in the yard
- Whether or not homeowners can have pets
- Noise levels and street parking
- Whether an owner can run a business out of his or her home
Even with a clear agreement, there are times when an HOA may try and enforce a rule unfairly or overstep its bounds. A dispute with this governing body can be complex and frustrating, and it may be necessary for you to secure legal help in order to reach a beneficial conclusion to your concerns.
Protecting your property rights
If you have concerns about your rights as a New Jersey property owner, you may find it beneficial to reach out for guidance from a real estate attorney. Your legal ally can help you understand whether you have grounds to take action against your HOA or how you can prevent a further escalation of your dispute. If you are unsure of where to begin, you may want to start simply by seeking an assessment of your case.