When you move into a community with a homeowners’ association, you must agree to adhere to the terms of the neighborhood covenant. Each HOA is different, and the specific rules that may apply to you depend on your individual community. It is your responsibility to know which rules apply to you, as well as what duties are the responsibility of the HOA. It is in your interests to know where the line is between the authority of the HOA and your rights as a homeowner.
There are times when a dispute arises between you and your HOA. When you know your rights, you will be in a better position from which you can defend your interests and take the most appropriate course of action. The intent of an HOA is to maintain common areas and protect the value and overall look of the neighborhood, but it cannot infringe on your rights.
Common disputes and the rights of homeowners
Homeowners can regulate the use of community amenities, maintain flower beds in common areas, ensure all homeowners maintain the look of their homes and more. However, there are times when this governing body steps over the line of what they can do and infringes on the rights and interests of the private property owner. Examples of specific things HOAs can regulate include the following:
- Shingles and siding
- Exterior paint colors
- Mailboxes and exterior sheds
- Swingsets and basketball hoops
- Fences, shrubs and hedges
If a homeowner violates the terms of the HOA agreement, he or she could face fines and other penalties. Eventually, the HOA may decide to put a lien on the home in order to compel the homeowner to comply, or pay his or her fines. You have the right to fight back against unfair application of the rules or a violation of your rights.
Fighting for your interests
You do not have to remain silent if an HOA has treated you unfairly or violated your rights. If you believe this happened to you, you may benefit from seeking an assessment of your case and explanation of the legal options that are available to you. In some cases, it may be appropriate to pursue a civil claim against an HOA that acted illegally against you or others in your Florida neighborhood.