HOA rules are great for the order they bring to a community. These rules help create structure for the association and maintain peace among your residents. But this doesn’t mean that your community association’s rules are always enforceable. Here are some instances in which your HOA may be operating outside the law.
Which HOA Rules Are Unenforceable?
Different community associations create various guidelines to govern their operations and the residents of the community. But when a rule or the conduct of the association violates the law, it becomes unenforceable. Here are a few examples.
1. HOA Rules That Violate the Law
Community associations cannot enforce any rules that violate local, state, or federal law. Some examples of these laws include:
- Discrimination — The Fair Housing Act prevents discrimination against homeowners based on race, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. Rules deterring certain groups from purchasing or segregation certain groups would be unlawful.
- Religious Freedom — Any rules that prevent religious freedom will be considered illegal.
- Freedom of Speech — HOAs cannot prevent homeowners from expressing their political views. But they can restrict the size and locations of permitted signs.
- Antennas and Satellite Dishes — HOAs cannot prohibit homeowners from using antennas or satellite dishes, although they may restrict the size of the allowable equipment.
- Other Laws — There are many other laws community associations need to follow. If you are unsure about an action, you should consult with a knowledgeable HOA attorney.
2. HOA Rules Enacted Incorrectly
HOAs must have specific processes for creating and modifying rules. If the association doesn’t follow those processes exactly, the rule will likely be considered unenforceable.
3. HOA Rules Enforced Selectively
The Fair Housing Act prohibits community associations from discrimination. An HOA must be consistent in its enforcement of rules. If it only enforces rules for a certain class of people and not for others, this is inconsistent and likely won’t stand up to legal scrutiny.
4. HOA Rules Enforced With No Authority
A community association can’t fine or punish a homeowner simply because it has the power to do so. There must be a specific violation of a covenant, condition, or restriction. If there isn’t, the HOA is simply abusing its power.
Contact an Experienced Community Association & HOA Attorney Today
The Clarkson Law Group, P.C. provides trusted counsel and qualified representation to community associations and HOA boards throughout South Carolina and Nevada. Our seasoned commercial law attorneys take a preventative approach to our client’s legal issues as well as help them resolve legal issues that arise. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can help your organization. Our firm has offices in SC, Las Vegas, and Reno for your convenience.