Lisa Westerman's Blog
Many homeowners have a difficult relationship with their homeowners association. On the one hand, the HOA helps your community stay safe, clean, and makes it a desirable place to live which improves the property value of your home. But, on the other hand, homeowners associations can be a problem if you want to make a change to your property that they disagree with.
In this article, we’ll talk about some common issues that homeowners face in their dealings with homeowners associations and give you tips on how to handle them so that you’ll have the best possible outcome.
Study the rules carefully
It may seem like a nuisance, but your best defense when dealing with the homeowners association is to understand what’s expected of you. Not only will it help you stay on good terms with the HOA, but it will also make it easier to understand what your options are.
It’s a good idea to understand these rules and bylaws before you ever move into the neighborhood, but it’s never too late to learn them. It might help you later on down the road should you want to paint your house or build a new structure in your yard.
Introduce yourself to the members
It’s best to get off on the right foot with the other members of your homeowners association. You don’t want your first meeting to be a complaint against you, nor do you want to introduce yourself to someone only to make a complaint against someone else.
It will also give you a chance to ask questions about the community and to get an understanding of how easy or difficult it is to deal with the regulations of the homeowners association.
Don’t assume ill-will
If you find that a complaint has been raised against you, don’t act immediately. Take some time to compose your response and be sure to acknowledge the complaint. Odds are that the other members of the HOA aren’t there just to give you a hard time.
Choose your battles
There are some things worth fighting for when it comes to your home. However, you don’t want to be repeatedly challenging the HOA on small issues. Stick to the rules on the things that aren’t hugely important, that way other members won’t come to expect issues from you.
When you’re required to get permission from the board before making a change to your property, be sure you follow the steps laid out in your agreement. Doing so will avoid any unnecessary conflict.
Pay all dues and fines on time
Even if you are in the middle of a disagreement with the HOA, it’s better to continue paying your dues and fines that to leave them outstanding. If you don’t pay, you risk further penalty, including fees.
Plan ahead if you want to change the rules
If you’re dissatisfied with some or man of the rules of the homeowners association, odds are you’re not alone. First, start by talking with other neighborhood members. If they have similar views on the rules in question, you can bring them up collectively at the next meeting.
Your second option would be to run for the board and try to enact the changes yourself. However, you should never seek a position out of spite or anger. Only volunteer your time and effort if you want to lend a hand in your community and make life better for all of the inhabitants.