Why Do Homeowners Associations Have So Much Power?

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are often portrayed as villains, and in some cases they certainly do abuse their power. They are, however, legal entities that exist to ensure the well-being of a neighborhood. As such, they’re given power by the law, homeowners, and, in the case of corporate HOAs, money. However, there’s a limit to their power, and if your rights as a citizen and homeowner are being unfairly compromised, you do have the power to stand up to them. In a way, your HOA is a “mini government,” and just like federal and state governments, they can implement rules, collect fees, regulate behavior, hold elections, and impose a hefty fine on you for violating HOA rules. The primary function of an HOA is to maintain the aesthetic and atmospheric appeal of a property and make sure property values don’t depreciate. What baffles homeowners everywhere is how HOAs are allowed by law to have so much power and authority over someone else’s property. The legal powers of HOAs depend on the way they were formed. All HOAs are formed as separate legal entities and their power varies. The fact of the matter is, when you move in you sign a legally binding contract saying that you will adhere to the rules of the HOA, and in doing so, you are legally committed to follow those rules or be fined for violating them. The sad truth is that HOAs have money on their side, and we all know that money talks. That doesn’t mean you’re without any recourse. If your HOA violates any federal law, you have every right to report them and they will have to face severe consequences. Knowing your rights will enable you to change or modify the HOA’s rules and regulations that are unfair, discriminatory, or that violate your rights as a citizen. Most HOAs would not want to get into a legal battle with homeowners, so you stand a good chance of winning. Just remember to pick your battles.