Home Owners Associations in California are authorized and regulated by state law. When purchasing a home that has a HOA, it is important for buyers to read and understand the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions of the residential development. These CC&Rs are drawn up in compliance with state laws regulating such associations and are therefore enforceable.
The operational nature of the HOA may be intrusive for some homebuyers. Others may view the association as a godsend that will ease their physical and emotional worries about keeping up with such important matters as maintenance and security. But there is a monthly fee for the service, which is another fact that potential buyers will want to investigate prior to signing a purchase agreement for the home.
The HOA may have rules about pets, parking, landscaping, lawn maintenance, decorations, noise and even with respect to some kinds interior designs and structural features. The association generally governs at prescheduled meetings where items on the agenda may be voted on for approval. Theoretically, subjects for discussion are not to be taken up if they are not on the agenda. However, it is possible for homeowners not listed to get feedback regarding their questions.
It is important to include the monthly dues for the HOA in one's budget because it is a fixed cost as vital as the mortgage itself. In addition, potential buyers should inquire whether any assessments are coming up to fund special projects. The homeowners' association funds larger projects by assessments, which are paid by homeowners over and above their monthly fee.
The HOA may be a great benefit for many homeowners. It provides maintenance for common areas and even administers some security measures for protection of its members. The association also enforces rules against nuisances, noise, disturbances and the like. This tends to assure residents of a peaceful environment without the potential hassles of getting into personal problem-solving conflicts with other residents. Remember that California law regulates these associations and their rules must be consistent with the contours of the governing state mandates.
Source: coastalview.com, "The ABCs of HOAs", Sarah Smith, Oct. 18, 2017