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  4.  » The rights, responsibilities and limits to homeowners’ associations

The rights, responsibilities and limits to homeowners’ associations

If you move into a home in a community that has a governing body to oversee certain aspects of the neighborhood, you will need to know how that could impact you. The role of a homeowners’ association is to oversee the upkeep and maintenance of certain aspects of a neighborhood, including common areas and the overall visual appeal of the community. However, there are limits to the authority of an HOA, and homeowners will benefit from understanding their own property rights. 

When you understand your rights as a homeowner, you will be in a stronger position from which to defend yourself if the HOA oversteps the boundaries of its authority. HOA disputes can be costly and confusing, and Arizona property owners may be unsure of how to move forward if they find themselves in this position. You have the right to defend your property interests and confront an HOA for unfair, illegal or unreasonable actions. 

The authority of an HOA 

An HOA is a governing body tasked with certain aspects of the community, including maintenance of common areas, upkeep of swimming pool, staffing gatehouses, maintenance of streets, installation of proper lighting in certain areas and much more. Depending on the individual neighborhood, an HOA may also oversee and regulate the following details: 

  • Pets, including types of pets permitted in the neighborhood 
  • Siding, shingles and color of exterior paint 
  • Color and type of mailboxes 
  • Hedges, shrubs and fences 
  • Toolsheds, storage boxes and storage of garbage cans 
  • Permissible noise levels 
  • Number of vehicles permitted or types of vehicles allowed in driveways 
  • Home-based business 
  • Fences, shrubs and landscaping 
  • Swing sets, basketball hoops and other structures for children 

If a homeowner violates the terms of the agreement with the HOA, does not seek permission for certain changes or does not follow the rules of the community, he or she may face fines and other repercussions.  

Defending your rights 

There are times when a homeowner may be in a position in which he or she must fight back against the unfair actions of an HOA. If you are in a dispute with your neighborhood governing body over a disagreement, misinterpretation of the rules, improper application of the rules or violation of your rights, you do not have to navigate this complex matter on your own. HOA disputes are complex, and you may benefit from first seeking an explanation of the legal options available to you as a property owner. 

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