When you buy a home in a California neighborhood, you are probably thinking about the things you will do to decorate your home, landscape your yard and enjoy your property. Perhaps you have a plan to put in a pool at some point in the future. These are all great ideas, but it may surprise you learn how much input your neighborhood homeowners’ association has over your plans.

Whether you plan to move into a community with an HOA or you already live in one, it’s smart to know where the authority of your HOA ends and your rights a homeowner begin. You have the right to defend your property, and this may mean confronting unfair tactics or unreasonable demands against you by the HOA. It’s beneficial to learn about the things this governing authority can and cannot regulate.

What can your HOA tell you to do?

When you moved into your home, you likely had to sign an agreement regarding the terms set forth by your HOA. Knowing what’s in this contract is an important step in protecting your rights and knowing if your HOA is trying to overstep its bounds. Some of the things that this neighborhood governing body may regulate include the following: 

  • Whether owners can have pets in the community
  • Choices of exterior paint colors
  • Limitations on fences, backyard swing sets and basketball hoops
  • Types of shingles, siding and the choice of landscaping
  • Restrictions on tool sheds and additional structures
  • Rules concerning the construction of pools, patios or decks
  • Whether you can run a home-based business in the neighborhood 

The intent of an HOA is to protect the integrity of the neighborhood by preserving the look of the homes, requiring owners to upkeep their lawns and helping residents protect their home values. Some HOAs have stricter rules than others, but there are certain things that HOAs simply have no legal authority to attempt to regulate.

Overstepping the line 

If your HOA is trying to infringe on your rights, you do not have to simply put up with it or try to fight back on your own. You paid a lot of money for your home, and you have the right to protect your financial investment and your property rights.

Whether you are already involved in a dispute with your HOA or you want to know more about your rights, you will find it beneficial to discuss your concerns with an experienced real estate attorney. An assessment of your case can help you understand how to proceed to reach a beneficial resolution to your concerns.