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OverviewHOA feesHOA board membersDo board members get paid?Why would I join an HOA?What are some rules?Can I refuse to join?
homeowners association (HOA) is an organization that makes and enforces rules for a community or neighborhood. These rules aim to help maintain property values and protect the quality of life in the community. Membership often is a requirement for homeowners in the community, and these members elect a board of directors to govern the HOA.  

The board enforces the rules and regulations of a community, which may include things like standards for the appearance of homes and yards, restrictions on the use of properties and rules for common areas. The HOA collects fees from homeowners to fund the HOA’s operations.

Homeowners association fees.

They seem like a burden, but it's money that goes back into your neighborhood.

Homeowners association members usually pay fees to help cover the costs of HOA operations. Typically, the money collected goes toward community upkeep and improvements. This includes things like the cost of landscaping, snow removal, trash removal and the maintenance of amenities such as swimming pools or fitness centers. HOA fees HOA boards may also use collected fees to pay for insurance, legal expenses or other administrative costs, or to fund neighborhood events.  

There is no standard, but most communities collect HOA fees on an annual or monthly basis. The amount of the HOA fees will vary depending on the size of the community and the type of amenities and services the HOA provides. All homeowners in the community pay the fees, and failure to pay could mean fines or other penalties.

HOA board members.

A group of volunteers elected to consider and enforce the rules and regulations of a community.

The homeowners association (HOA) board is a group of volunteers elected by the members of the HOA to govern the community and make decisions on behalf of the homeowners. The HOA board enforces the rules and regulations of the community. They also manage the upkeep of community common areas and amenities.  

Typically, the board is a group of homeowners in the community they govern. The board may include officers such as a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Board members meet regularly to discuss and vote on issues related to the community, and members of the HOA are usually welcome to attend these meetings.  

Do HOA board members get paid?

HOA boards are usually a group of volunteers, though they may be reimbursed for HOA-related expenses.

In most cases, HOA board members are volunteers elected by their neighbors. It’s not common that board members receive any payment, though they may be reimbursed for certain expenses that they incur while performing their duties. This includes things like travel expenses or the cost of purchasing materials. It is also not uncommon for HOAs to provide additional benefits or perks to board members, such as free access to amenities or discounts on HOA fees.  

The motivation to serve on an HOA board varies. Typically, board members serve because they have an interest in their community. Some board members jump at the opportunity to give back. Others like to have influence over the decisions that affect their neighborhood.

Why do people join a homeowners association?

HOAs focus on maintaining and increasing property values and the comfort of its residents. A lot of people like that there is a group looking out for these things.

Generally, if you move into a community with an HOA, your membership is required. So, if you don’t want to be part of an HOA, you may need to avoid certain neighborhoods. We get it. The fees can be a big turnoff. But, the money does go toward some unique benefits. There are several reasons why people may choose to move into a community governed by a homeowners association (HOA):

  • Community amenities: Many HOAs provide access to amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and playgrounds, which can be attractive to homeowners who want these types of facilities.
  • Property values: By enforcing rules and regulations that maintain the appearance and upkeep of homes and yards, an HOA helps to preserve and even increase property values within the community.
  • Sense of community: Being a part of an HOA gives homeowners a sense of belonging and community. An HOA gives members an opportunity to participate in events and activities organized by the association.
  • Maintenance and upkeep: The HOA maintains and improves community common areas, which can be a benefit to homeowners who do not want to worry about these tasks themselves.
  • Safety: Some HOAs may provide security measures or work with local law enforcement to ensure the safety of the community.

What's an example of HOA rules?

HOA rules differ by the community they exist in. Still, there are some common considerations.

The rules any HOA may have will depend on the community they apply to. Some are more restrictive, and others are pretty lenient. Generally, the rules are in the interest of maintain or improving property values, as well as quality of life in a community.  

Here are some examples of rules that a homeowners association (HOA) might have:

  • Architectural guidelines: These rules may regulate the appearance of homes and other structures within the community. Guidelines may concern the type of materials, allowable paint colors and the size and style of a structure.
  • Landscaping: The HOA may have rules regarding the appearance and maintenance of yards, gardens and other landscaping features.
  • Parking: There may be rules governing where and how homeowners and visitors may park their vehicles within the community.  
  • Noise: The HOA may have rules regulating the level of noise allowed within the community, particularly during certain hours of the day.
  • Renting: Some HOAs may have rules regarding the rental of homes within the community, such as the minimum length of time for a lease and the total number of rentals allowed.
  • Pets: The HOA may have rules regarding the number, size, and type of pets allowed.
  • Signs: There may be rules regarding the size, number, and placement of signs within the community.
  • Satellite dishes: The HOA may have rules regarding the installation and use of satellite dishes within the community.

Can I refuse to join an HOA?

If you move into a neighborhood that has an HOA, it's likely your membership is required.

Generally, if you own a home in the community, you will be required to join its homeowners association. You’ll find this requirement in the deeds or covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) of the properties. When you purchase a home in a community with an HOA, you are agreeing to become a member of the association and to pay the HOA fees that are required.  

It is, however, possible that an HOA has provisions for non-residential members or for individuals who do not own property within the community, such as renters or business owners. In these cases, the HOA may allow these individuals to become non-voting members or associate members of the association.