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  • Writer's pictureJoel Friedman

What You Need to Know About HOAs

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

A homeowners association, which is what HOA means, is an organization within a community that helps to manage the common areas and enforce certain rules and regulations. Today, most HOAs are nonprofit organizations that manage community property, provide services to residents, and enforce covenants and restrictions on properties. They typically collect monthly or yearly HOA dues from homeowners, which go towards maintaining common areas, such as parks or pools. These associations are typically made up of volunteers who are elected by the HOA community members. In the United States, there are more than 1 million HOA memberships nationwide. These associations cover an estimated 20 percent of residential housing units in the country. They also represent a significant source of revenue for local governments.

Ariel view of a neighborhood of single family homes with shingle roofs. Shot through a fisheye lens on a drone

Pros of an HOA

What are the benefits of an HOA? An HOA can provide many benefits to a community, such as maintaining property values, providing a sense of community, and improving the quality of life. These organizations add to home curb appeal. In addition, some HOAs can offer special discounts on utilities or groceries.

HOAs essentially lower the cost of living in their communities, as well as improving the quality of the neighborhood. Sure homeowners have to cover HOA fees, but that pays for basic electric and water, as well as property maintenance, such as lawn care. That means no more having to mow the lawn in the heat of summer!

HOAs also add a sense of security to neighborhoods. If you are having a conflict with your neighbors, an HOA can step in to mediate. And if a neighbor has an issue with you, then the HOA will be able to help solve any conflicts.

Cons of an HOA

What are the drawbacks of an HOA? One of the main drawbacks of an HOA is that they can be costly. Homeowners are typically required to pay monthly or yearly HOA dues, which can add up over time. If a homeowner does not pay these fees, then they can be fined, and possibly lose their home. It is best to look into HOA fees before joining one.

Additionally, they may enforce HOA rules and regulations that some people may not agree with. For example, an HOA may require that all homes be painted a certain color, or that lawns be kept neatly trimmed. If a homeowner does not cooperate with these rules, the HOA can fine them until they do. These HOA rules can even seem inconsequential, such as not allowing signs in a front yard, but every rule made by the HOA must be followed.

The Lowdown by Zerodown says that with all of the rules and engagement within the HOA community, it can seem as if there is little privacy in an HOA. Some homeowners wish to be left alone, but an HOA is allowed to conduct exterior inspections. This is so that they can ensure everyone’s buildings are up to date and safe, as well as following the HOA rules.

inspiring many hands coming together as a team

How to Start an HOA

If your neighborhood does not currently have an HOA, you might be wondering how to start one. Hoastart has some helpful tips. Here are a few things you will need to do to get started.

1. First, you will need to find a group of people who are interested in being a part of the HOA. This can be done by reaching out to your neighbors or advertising in your community. Make sure to lay out the pros and cons of an HOA to give your community an idea of what you wish to accomplish.

2. Once you have a group of interested people, you will need to elect a board of directors as HOA management. This board will be responsible for making decisions about the HOA. Since these leadership roles are elected, you will want to make sure everyone's voice is heard. These members will be representing the members of your community.

3. Once you have an HOA board in place, you will need to create bylaws. These bylaws will outline how the HOA will operate and what its goals are. This is similar to a mission statement. You will again want feedback from all the members in your community to make sure their needs and wants are being met.

4. Once you have your bylaws, you will need to register your HOA with the state. This will give you legal status and allow you to open a bank account.

5. You will also want to figure out how your HOA is going to communicate with the community. Having an HOA website is a good idea for new members that want to learn more about your organization and rules. This should include bylaws, HOA board members, and regulations the community has to recognize. A social media site, like Facebook, will help the community to interact with the HOA more freely.

6. Finally, you will need to start collecting HOA dues from your members. These dues will be used to pay for things like landscaping, repairs, and other expenses your community decides that they want.

Starting an HOA can be a lot of work, but it can also be a great way to improve your community. If you follow these steps, you will be on your way to a successful HOA.

Homeowner discussing home improvement renovations with a map of plans in front of their house

Do I Need HOA Permission for Home Renovations

Home Advisor says if you live in an HOA community, then you might need to get approval before making any exterior changes to your home. This could include things like painting, adding or removing fencing, and making changes to your landscaping. This is because The HOA is responsible for maintaining the appearance of the community, so they need to make sure that any changes made to homes fit with the overall aesthetic. They will also want to make sure that any structural changes are safe and up to code. If you do need permission and you are thinking about making any major renovations, you will need to submit a request to the HOA for approval.

What does this mean for roof replacement? Roof colors are something that HOAs typically are concerned with. If you are just looking for a roof repair, then you do not need permission from the HOA since the color of your roof will not be changing. If you are thinking of a roof color change for your home, then you might need to consult your HOA.

If you make changes to your home without HOA approval, you risk being in violation of your HOA agreement. This could result in a fine, and you may be required to undo the changes you made. In some cases, the HOA may even file a lawsuit against you. It is always best to avoid this situation by getting HOA approval before making any changes to your home.

If you are not sure whether or not you need HOA approval for a planned change, it is always best to err on the side of caution and submit a request. The HOA may have specific guidelines that you need to follow, so be sure to ask for these before getting started on your project.

Is An HOA Worth It?

Nobody can determine for you whether an HOA is worth joining or not simply because it depends on the homeowner. If you enjoy an aesthetic neighborhood, and do not mind the rules and regulations, then you will probably like being a part of an HOA. If the fees and rules make you nervous, then make sure to research thoroughly before joining an HOA. Some neighborhoods require homeowners to be a part of their association, so be sure to check the requirements when moving into a new home.

The HOA rules and restrictions vary from place to place, so if you live in Tampa, Cape Coral, or Ft. Myers, FL, then check your local laws and organizations for specifics. If you have been approved for a roof replacement, or you are just getting started, then contact Gale Force Roofing & Restoration at 813-805-8096 to schedule your complimentary roof inspection!

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