How to Deal with Condo HOA’s 

Condo communities are a wonderful concept, and, in practice, often serve their owners well. The idea behind condominiums is that various owners have a stake in the entire development. With this, homebuyers can find much more affordable residential homes in locations that otherwise would command steep prices.

Another great thing about condo communities is these are usually equipped with amenities residences can enjoy without having to pay the full cost of maintenance. Managed by homeowners’ associations, condominium residents are governed by a set of rules, generally referred to as bylaws.

How to Deal with Condo HOA’s

Since everyone in the development lives under the same rules, unit owners can’t devalue neighboring residents by doing something crazy. These are the biggest upsides to HOAs, but unfortunately, there are downsides to living in such a community. If you find yourself running afoul of the association’s bylaws, you certainly aren’t alone, and, you do have options available that can bring real results:

  1. Try to avoid potential problems. Your first step is to be proactive and comply with the bylaws before you take-on a project.
  2. Start by carefully reviewing the bylaw rules. There are instances where the board’s interpretation isn’t quite reasonable, or, when the association members are trying to write-in new provisions. For many of rule violations, there are fixes.
  3. Don’t challenge, but do persuade. Another tack to take is to speak with board members one-on-one in private. Rather than attack, attempt to persuade a few members. Perhaps, you’ll be given an exception or the rule will be interpreted differently.
  4. Get the board on board by lobbing neighbors. If you’re said to be in violation of the bylaws, perhaps other unit owners are as well. Popular sentiment can be very powerful and when a majority lobbies against certain rules, change can be affected.
  5. Run for a spot on the HOA board. Owner seated association boards tend to turn over members periodically. If that’s the case in your community, use it to your advantage and try to get yourself elected to the board.
  6. Challenge the board’s decision through proper channels. Should you not make any headway, it could be worth a try to file a formal challenge to the rule. Understand that this tactic could backfire, causing the board to dig-in deeper.
  7. Seek the advice of experienced legal counsel. It’s possible that you might have other options available to you. For instance, local municipal laws that the association bylaws don’t comply with, or, entering into alternative dispute resolution.

Whatever you do, it’s best to pay your HOA fees and any fines levied against you on time. Otherwise, you in violation and legal action could be taken against you.