Pros and Cons of a Homeowners Association
If you’re shopping for a home in the Bowling Green area, you are likely to come across many properties that are part of a homeowner’s association, or HOA. According to the trade group Community Associations Institute (CAI), roughly 26 million homes in the U.S. are governed by HOAs. If you are considering buying one of these homes, or have just purchased one, here is what you need to know about these associations including their pros and cons.
What is a Homeowner’s Association?
A homeowner’s association is a legal entity that is given the authority to manage a community of homes, townhomes, or condominiums. The association has the power to enforce conditions, covenants, and restrictions as well as manage the communal areas of the community.
In most communities that have an HOA, participation is mandatory when you own a home, but there may be neighborhoods that have optional HOAs. Depending on the community and its HOA, there are dues that you must pay monthly, which can range anywhere from less than $100 to $1,000 or more.
What Are the Pros of a Homeowners Association?
Hopefully, you will derive some benefits by writing an additional check to this HOA each month. The good news is that, in most cases, you will. The advantages of belonging to a homeowner’s association include:
- Some HOAs provide amenities. Those dues that you are paying each month could partially fund some terrific community amenities such as a pool, tennis courts, park, and fitness center.
- You have less responsibilities. Some of those HOA fees are also used to provide for community upkeep in communal areas. For example, your monthly dues might pay for the cost of lawn care and snow removal in communal areas. When you own a condo, there are other potential benefits, such as basic cable, trash removal, and the cost of insurance coverage for the building and other scheduled improvements.
- The neighborhood will look nice. In general, neighborhoods with HOAs look nicer because there are regulations (mentioned in “Cons”) about lawn upkeep, vehicles in driveways, and improvements to the structures.
- Handles some neighbor disputes. Your HOA may be able to handle some disputes among neighbors instead of leaving that in your hands. For example, if there is a consistently barking dog in a backyard or all-night parties, the HOA can contact the offenders about these problems.
What Are the Cons of a Homeowners Association?
Benefits aside, there are also some drawbacks to being part of an HOA. Before you decide to buy a home in one of these neighborhoods, make sure you understand the potential disadvantages that include:
- A variety of rules. One of the biggest drawbacks to belonging to an HOA is their extensive list of rules and regulations. When you buy a home in an HOA neighborhood, you acknowledge and agree to these rules, which often include lawn upkeep, noise hours, renters, types and number of vehicles you can have, pet restrictions, and exterior improvements to the home. If you violate any of these rules, you could face fines and a potential lawsuit.
- Potential assessments. If the association doesn’t have enough cash to cover an unexpected expense, it has the right to “assess” its members to pay those bills. This is an unanticipated expense that you could see at any time if your HOA is underfunded.
- The HOA can foreclose on your property. Believe it or not, the HOA can put a lien on your property and foreclose even if you don’t carry a mortgage. If you get behind on paying your dues or have an HOA judgment against you for breaking the rules, you could lose your home.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Kentucky Real Estate Lawyer
While HOAs can be beneficial to community residents, they can also lead to conflicts. In some cases, an HOA dispute might require that you take part in arbitration, which may or may not resolve the problem. If you are a member of one of these associations and are having difficulty with either the HOA or your neighbors, it may be helpful to discuss your legal options.
Lanna Martin Kilgore, PLLC, is a knowledgeable and experienced Kentucky real estate litigation attorney who understands the complex legal issues that arise within these associations. Our legal team can help resolve your real estate issues in the Bowling Green area with the least conflict possible. Contact us now at 270.846.3700 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation.