Living with your HOA

If you’re buying a new home or a resale within a planned development (or already own is such a community), it’s very likely there is a home owners association, also known as HOA. The HOA has rules and covenants to live by, so to speak.  So, you’re not only living with your community, but living with your HOA as well.

Living with your HOA
Home buying process

Most residents and owners living under the umbrella of their HOA are interested staying within the lines of the rules and covenants. However, it’s difficult sometimes to be aware of all the rules as they sometimes change.  Getting an infraction notice isn’t the end of the world, as it’s just the HOA’s way of reminding you of the rules.  Most infractions are resolved without a fuss. 

It’s not unreasonable for you to want to live quietly in your own home.  Nonetheless, when you move into a community that has a HOA, you agreed to be living with your HOA rules and covenants.  

There may be occasions where the home owner feels that the HOA’s notice is a nuisance.  Sometimes home owners feel the HOA is unfair, they may feel singled out, and their voice is unheard.  It’s not uncommon that a home owner may feel as if the HOA is engaging in selective rule enforcement.  You may not agree with the HOA action or decisions, however seeking a resolution is mutually desirable.

Responsible community management is not a one-sided affair. It’s also the responsibility of the home owner to maintain the rules and covenants.  However, when there is a dispute, what can you do?  Fortunately in my area, there are neutral resources to assist in mediating disputes between community management companies, boards of directors and home owners. 

The Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities (housed within the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection) was established in 1991 and is committed to providing owners, tenants, residents, boards of directors, and community management companies with information, assistance, and impartial dispute resolution programs.  Statewide, the Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland Attorney General can receive complaints under the Maryland Condominium Act, as well as the Maryland Homeowners Association Act for resolution.

By Dan Krell
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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

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