If you’re new to HOA management, you may not be familiar with the most common rules these communities typically implement. HOA rules are an important part of keeping the peace amongst members and maintaining a uniform aesthetic property appearance. To follow are five areas where HOA managers tend to focus their governing efforts and how you can optimize them within your community.
Most home owners associations assess certain fees as part of membership. The amount of these fees will vary based on a number of factors, including the size of the community, which amenities it offers and what type of maintenance the association is responsible for providing. HOA fees go toward community expenses such as landscaping, gates, street and sidewalk maintenance, gates, etc. HOA management is in charge of determining and collecting these fees, as well as enforcing penalties for members who are in default.
When you manage a community, especially one in which there is a limited amount of shared space, rules about parking are common. This becomes particularly relevant when it comes to visitors. HOA members will want to ensure that they have their own areas where they can safely store their vehicles and not have to worry about guests of other owners blocking them in or causing an eye sore. As an HOA manager, it’s up to you to develop a parking plan that is reasonable and enforceable.
Another important topic where HOA rules are involved is pets. Not everyone enjoys sharing their yard or neighborhood with animals. A dog’s incessant barking can quickly become a nuisance while homeowners who walk their pets and don’t pick up after them can create frustration for other community members. For these and many other reasons, many HOAs place restrictions on the number and types of pets owners are allowed to have, while others may prohibit them entirely.
Most HOAs have specific rules and requirements in place to help maintain an attractive appearance of the properties. These rules may specify how frequently lawns must be cut, whether or not fences or other items are allowed and if there are any restrictions on those, and even what color owners are allowed to paint their homes. It’s up to HOA management to determine how strict or lenient these property upkeep rules are, as well as what the consequences will be if they are violated.
If your HOA is located in a popular tourist area, you may have some owners who would like to rent out their homes as a source of extra income. This is commonly the case with sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Of course, with a constant turnover of strangers who are not actually members, it is imperative that HOA management develop and enforce specific guidelines surrounding what is and isn’t allowed in order to maintain peace and order within the community.
An HOA affords many benefits to members, but only when those communities have appropriate rules and regulations to govern them. The five topics listed above should provide you with a good foundation for developing a solid set of guidelines to ensure happy, safe and peaceful community living.