HOA Rental Policies – Procedural Flaws That Matter

Condo and townhome owners who are serious about challenging an HOA’s rental restrictions should seek legal advice.  An attorney will analyze the interplay between the association’s Governing Documents, HOA records, federal laws, state statutes and court decisions.  That analysis will reveal if the process used to adopt the rental policy contained significant flaws. … [Read more...]

How to Challenge an HOA’s Rental Policy

Frustrated condo and townhouse owners who are not allowed to rent out their units under the HOA’s grandfather clause or a hardship exception often ask “Is there anything I can do to challenge the rental policy?”  The answer is yes, but the challenges will not be quick, easy, cheap, or necessarily successful.  The options include: … [Read more...]

HOA Rental Exceptions – Grandfathering and Hardships

What can homeowners do when they are caught between the need to rent their condo or townhouse and a policy that restricts rentals in the HOA community? There are two main policy exceptions to explore – grandfather clauses and hardship exceptions.  First, review the HOA Governing Documents.  Was the rental restriction an original provision or was it added later?  … [Read more...]

Rental Restrictions – The Third Rail of HOA Policies

Over the past 10 years, many Home Owner Associations have sought to amend their Governing Documents to restrict leasing.  This topic is so volatile, it could be called the “third rail” of HOA decisions.  In fact, one law firm’s PowerPoint presentation on this topic starts with the slide: Rental Restrictions: How to Best Create Dissension and Animosity in Your Homeowners Association.  … [Read more...]

HOA Rental Restrictions – Owner Perspectives

My homeowner association is trying to take away my property rights!  They say I can’t rent my home to a tenant.  They can’t do that!  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard those words from upset owners of condos and townhouses. … [Read more...]

Hide and Seek

Let’s talk about a real estate bill in the 2011 Minnesota legislative session.  Under MN Statute section 515B.4-108, purchasers of a condo, townhouse or cooperative unit get 10 days to review the home owner association (HOA) disclosure documents.  That 10-day clock starts … [Read more...]

Flag Displays and HOAs

The First Amendment protects a person’s right to free speech over any conflicting Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions of an HOA when the U.S. flag is involved. The federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act  states that associations cannot prevent flag displays on the residential areas to which an owner has a “separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use."  This means owners generally can display the flag in their unit and on their limited common elements, like decks.  However, reasonable “time, place and manner” restrictions can be enforced to protect … [Read more...]

Realities of Home Owners Association (HOA) Boards

Serving on a Homeowner Association Board is an important duty that contributes to the well-being of the community.  But it is an unpaid and often thankless job. Here are ten ways HOA Board members are continually reminded that no good deed goes unpunished. 1.  Difficult issues often require choosing between greatly upsetting the few or moderately upsetting the many.  Either choice will cause both results. … [Read more...]

How to X-ray an HOA #9 – Putting It All Together (Conclusion)

Making wise decisions about buying into a condo or townhouse development requires more due diligence than purchasing a traditional single family home.  Once the needed info has been gathered, assigning relative weights to the pros and cons of different places becomes the next challenge.  It’s enough to make you wish there was an “Angie’s List” or a “Consumer Reports Buying Guide” for HOA communities.   Deciding which home is the best choice is a highly individual matter. But there are a few universal principles to keep in mind: Principle No. 1:  The 3 most important things about real estate … [Read more...]

How to X-ray an HOA #8 – Home Businesses, Leases, Parking and Pets

Home-based businesses.  Most associations allow them, but restrict signage and require that the business not cause extra traffic in the neighborhood.   The Governing Documents in older associations may flatly prohibit home businesses and you may be told, “Don’t worry about that, we have never enforced it.”  That may be true, but if you proceed with a purchase under these circumstances, you risk that this attitude may change someday. Leases.  Do you want the flexibility to lease your place?  Many smaller associations prohibit leasing entirely but most other communities allow it.  As always, … [Read more...]

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