An HOA (Homeowners Association) is a private organization of homeowners in a condominium, planned unit, subdivision, townhouse complex, and single-family housing development. It is normally comprised of people who have volunteered to serve on the board.
Some of its main roles involve levying assessments, regulating activities, providing services, and imposing fines. Each member usually has to pay dues which are used to cover any expenses that arise from acquiring and maintaining common areas.
Other responsibilities of a homeowners association include:
- Ensuring that the community is functioning smoothly
- Maintaining and preserving the properties under its jurisdiction
- Making and enforcing rules for members
- Marketing and selling lots in a residential subdivision
Covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) are the rules that an HOA and its members must follow. These usually apply to both the homeowner and their home. Sometimes, they cover what can be planted in the yard, what colors can be used for the property, whether it’s allowed to own a pet, how many cars can be owned and parked, how much noise can be made, and whether a house can be rented out to someone else.
Breaking any rules will usually result in penalties, such as a fine or a reversal of the violation.
While many HOAs are corporations, they are mostly non-profit and are subject to corresponding state statutes. However, some states consider condominium-based associations to be separate entities due to differing property interests. In this case, the broader term of “community association” would be more appropriate for use.