Quick Guide to Homeowners Association Rules

If you’re a prospective homebuyer, you may come across a house that belongs to a community with a homeowners association, also known as an HOA.

An HOA includes members of a community who are in charge of preserving a neighborhood's standard of living. To do so, a board of directors creates and enforces a set of rules for residents through legal documents signed before you buy a home in their community.

These rules generally involve the following:

  • Resident behavior: Restrictions on noise levels, trash disposal, and property maintenance
  • Pets: Restrictions on breed, size, quantity, and areas in the neighborhood where pets can go
  • Home improvement projects: Restrictions on structural and exterior changes or additions
  • Vehicles and parking: Restrictions on number of vehicles, types of vehicles, and where you can park
  • Renting property: Restrictions on subletting
  • Landscaping: Restrictions on curb appeal maintenance and certain plants

When considering a house with an HOA, it’s important to understand the common guidelines you’ll need to follow and how you feel about them. Some residents may not mind the rules or actually appreciate the amenities, maintenance, and sense of community they create. Meanwhile, others may feel limited by certain restrictions.

For example, those who are interested in home improvement projects or want to follow the latest landscaping trends will need to obtain HOA approval. Depending on your planned modifications and specific HOA, your desired project may need to be altered or scrapped altogether. However, those with a penchant for home renovation may still be able to make minor changes.

To help you better navigate your community regulations, Lemonade has put together a helpful guide that will walk you through everything you need to know about HOA rules — including what happens if you violate them. Check out their post for in-depth guidance, but here’s a quick overview of some projects that require, may require, or don’t require HOA approval: