One of the association’s key jobs is the protection of homeowners rights. In fact, homeowners have a multitude of legal rights that it is the responsibility of the board to uphold. Most governing documents confirm these rights, but it is important to remember that the governing documents are always subject to federal and local laws.
Here is a list of some of the most important legal rights that homeowners have in your association.
Modification of Property
Although there are usually strict rules regarding modification, there are certain cases which prohibit HOAs from denying a modification. Some of the most common include:
Modifications for a Disability
If you have a homeowner that is disabled and needs modifications to the outside of the property in order to safely access their homes, it is illegal to prohibit these modifications. The board can set limitations where the modification is unneeded, damages the structure of the home, or becomes a danger to other residents.
Satellite Dishes, Antennas, and Solar Panel Installation
Homeowners are protected in their right to install a satellite dish, antenna, or solar panels on their property. The HOA usually has control as to the placement of these items, and can require that they be dismantled in the case of necessary maintenance.
Rights of Notice or Information
Homeowners have the right to be informed and the right to notice in a variety of different situations including:
Improperly Parked Vehicles
Residents have the right to a warning prior to being towed in the case of an improperly parked vehicle .
Notice of Board Meetings
All homeowners have the right to notice of board meetings well ahead of time. Generally, boards are required to give notice at least 4 days in advance of a regular meeting (emergency meetings excluded) and are also entitled to the agenda for that meeting at the same time.
Access to Records
Because the homeowners are paying out their own money into the association, they are entitled to the financial records of the HOA. Usually the homeowner is required to pay any fee associated with the acquirement of these documents.
Access to Other Information
Newly created rules and regulations, meeting minutes, budget documents, insurance information, and many other items should be made available to homeowners on a yearly basis in order to satisfy the legal rights of these residents.
Although there are of course many limits to personal expression in an HOA, and rightly so, there are several areas that associations are not allowed to prohibit.
In general, homeowners are protected by law with respect to the ownership of one pet, whether cat or dog or other legal animal, assuming that the pet is not a danger to surrounding neighbors, or destroying the peace and quality of life of the neighbors.
Signs, Posters, or Flags
Although HOAs can put restrictions in place regarding placement, size, or obscenity, homeowners have the right to display non-commercial signage on their property.
The US Flag
Because of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, homeowners have the right to display the US flag on their properties, with some restrictions.
Although this is a very short list and there are many other legal rights that belong to the homeowners in an HOA, these are some of the most basic rights that all HOA boards should be aware of.