Can Homeowner Associations Dictate Renovations?

by Ladyblogger on January 9, 2014

Owning property in a structured community brings issues into play that other homeowners often do not face. Sometimes it seems questionable whether the owner owns the house or if the community actually own the owner. There are positives and negatives of buying a property with a homeowners association, or HOA, and whether their input is considered welcome or invasive depends on the individual.

Those who buy homes in communities governed locally by an HOA are routinely required to sign compliance documents before purchasing and occupying the home, which are normally legal and binding agreements. However, these agreements can be breached by the association operational board when they attempt an overreach of power in an unreasonable manner or act in a discriminatory manner.

HOA Authority Restrictions

Legal recourse for a non-compliant homeowner is very often restricted because of the initial binding agreement, but there are still some requirements for the governing board that can be violated in the process. Violations or failure to comply on the part of the associational board can possibly establish a breached agreement by them. Additionally, prior actions of the board with respect to other tenants can reveal personal preferences by board directors and possible discrimination or conflict of interest against a particular owner.

This can easily occur in a community that has traditionally housed racially segregated tenants, but the situation is not solely restricted in that manner. Similar discriminatory actions can also occur involving disabled home owners, families with children, and seniors. General statutes can apply along with community jurisdiction.

HOA Authority Responsibilities

Community homeowner authorities do not have carte blanche powers, even though that may be the perception. There are direct responsibilities for each board member, including full disclosure of any fiduciary connections they have been involved in as to specific upgrade decisions for any particular home owner.

General repair directives that allow the recipient home owner to choose a local professional is a reasonable and legal request, but those to employ a specific contractor may not be legally acceptable if any board member is related or financially connected to that designated contractor.

Value and Curb Appeal

Every homeowner wants to maintain the value and equity they enjoy in their property. This is the most common agreement of all managed homeowner community residents. However, problems can arise in subdivisions with distinctively different housing designs, especially regarding size and value. Community standards that maintain an attractive curb appeal to both residents and visitors are clearly reasonable, but instructions to upgrade or remodel may be problematic when the original HOA jurisdiction agreement is applied. Standard legal remedies can still apply, with the question being an enforceable HOA contract.

Reasonable HOA requests will most likely be enforceable, because there is due consideration on both sides of the maintenance and value contract. There is minimal coercion involved. Luckily, there are renovation specialists who can offer cost effective assessment of an upgrade remodeling project, along with the expertise to complete the job just as described.

Directives from the local HOA can be a challenge for the common homeowner, but the final result can be financially and socially advantageous for all parties involved with the right renovator. Visit for more information on buying, selling and repairing rental homes. It is imperative to choose a licensed and bonded contractor who is held to a legal standard imposed in your jurisdiction, with knowledge of specific codes and safety requirements during rehab or updating projects.



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