Many people in Los Angeles dream of living in a gated community where privacy and security suggest an almost idyllic quality of life. However, purchasing a home in a private community — such as a condominium, in a retirement neighborhood or a vacation timeshare — often includes membership in a Home Owners’ Association or similar organization. Reading the fine print before signing on may save potential homeowners the headache of a real estate dispute.
Belonging to an HOA means agreeing to abide by its Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions even if they seem disagreeable. The terms of the CC&R are meant to protect the property values in the community as well as maintain a certain quality of life. So while the CC&R may prevent one’s neighbor from putting up a gaudy display of holiday lights or owning a persistently barking dog, it may also prevent one from displaying a flag of his or her favorite football team or installing an adorable mailbox.
HOA membership is not voluntary in most common interest communities. A person who purchases a home in an HOA-controlled community is legally bound to the association’s rules. In fact, refusing to abide by the terms of the CC&R, or even breaking the rules out of ignorance, may result in hefty fines or other penalties. The CC&R in one’s community may even give the HOA the right to foreclose on one’s house for unpaid fines or dues.
Carefully reading the CC&R and having a thorough understanding of one’s rights and responsibilities is vital before purchasing a home in a common interest community. Knowing what is in the contract will make it easier to recognize when one’s rights are being violated by an HOA. People in Los Angeles who feel their HOA is not keeping its end of the covenant or is overstepping its authority may consult an attorney for advice on how to resolve this real estate dispute.
Source: The Huffington Post, “When Homeowners’ Association Living Goes Haywire: How To Prevent The Common Problems Of Living Under An HOA or COA“, Jack Hanson, June 29, 2016