Tips & AdviceCan Your HOA Evict You?

Can Your HOA Evict You?

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As a homeowner, it is often in your best interest to grow the value of your home and contribute to making your neighborhood a great place to be. You make it a better place to live for you and your family by investing in your community. It could also make it easier for you to sell your home for more down the road.

A great way to preserve the value of your home and ensure others are keeping up their end of the bargain is to live in a community or neighborhood with a homeowner’s association or HOA. An HOA consists of a group of community members that enforce certain restrictions on what residents can and can’t do to keep the neighborhood as high-quality as possible.

But what if you don’t always abide by the rules set out by the HOA? Can an HOA evict a homeowner and remove them from the neighborhood? 

Can an HOA Evict a Homeowner?

The good news is that even if you break some of the HOA rules and restrictions, they will be unable to evict you. You are the homeowner, so the HOA cannot simply kick you out of your own home. Sure, HOAs have a lot of control and influence in a community, but that won’t allow them to remove you just because they want to.

Your HOA Can Issue You Fines

While the answer to “can you be evicted for not paying HOA fees?” is a no, that doesn’t mean that you cannot be penalized in another way. When you purchased the property in an HOA, you agreed to abide by the rules set out by the organization. If not, the HOA does have some options to try and get you to buy in and follow the rules they have in place.

Many HOAs can issue fines if there are violations but will generally start with a warning or get you to reverse your actions that were against their rules. These fines can usually be a few hundred dollars, but they can vary significantly case by case. Also, if you don’t pay your HOA fees, you could be subject to things like interest or a late payment penalty. 

Your HOA Can Place a Lien on Your Home

Another option some HOAs may take advantage of is placing a lien on your home. This is an escalation but is the route many HOAs will go if you refuse to pay your fines or fees. When there is a lien on your home, there is a legal debt attached to it. A lien may often be the first step toward foreclosure. 

This lien can make refinancing or reselling hard, as it tells the world you owe someone money. Because of this, it is wise to stay on the good side of your HOA, even if they cannot evict you directly.

Can an HOA Evict a Renter?

Also, you might be wondering, “can HOA evict a renter?”. The answer here is also no. It is the landlord’s responsibility to remove and evict a renter, not an HOA. An HOA agreement is with the homeowner, not the tenant, so most of these associations will go through the landlord and actual owner and try to get them to evict the tenant, which is legal, of course. However, the rules are different in Florida as a tenant can, in fact, be evicted by the HOA if they do not pay the HOA after receiving a demand for payment.

What is an HOA?

Now that you know that an HOA won’t be able to evict you, it’d be a good idea to take a closer look at what an HOA is. As briefly mentioned in the introduction, an HOA is essentially a governing body within a gated community, apartment complex, or planned community that sets rules and guidelines to maintain and improve the community in one way or another.

An HOA is funded and run by the residents of the community. HOA fees vary drastically by area and community. It can be as low as $100 a month or as high as $1,500 if you live in a high-end condo or gated community. Usually, a board of directors is in charge and meets regularly. The board is voted on by the rest of the community. Each resident will pay HOA fees on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis that covers the cleaning and upkeep of communal areas and any amenities in the community.

What is an HOA Responsible for Doing?

The primary goal of an HOA aims to protect and improve the value and image of the neighborhood. They want the community to be a safe, attractive, and pleasant place to live for residents. The HOA reaches these goals by setting rules and policies around what people can do with their yard and how their home should look, among other things. For instance, some HOAs may establish landscaping and gardening policies to ensure that the community looks better as a whole with complementing plants and meticulously maintained lawns.

An HOA will also handle disputes amongst other members of the community, set budgets, and brainstorm ideas about how to make the area even better looking and more desirable. HOAs don’t always work perfectly, but there are countless examples of an HOA helping a neighborhood and community thrive while increasing property values at the same time.

Common HOA Violations

While HOAs cannot evict you from your home as a renter or owner in most cases, that doesn’t mean you can simply disregard them and their rules. If you violate the policies in place, you can receive hundreds of dollars in fines, and there is a chance of a lien being placed on your home.

It’s good to become familiar with your HOA rules, so you don’t have to deal with these annoying and costly issues. Below are some common HOA violations you should avoid.

Noise

One of the biggest violations is making too much noise. If you live in an HOA, there is almost certainly a rule about making too much noise late at night, with most of these rules beginning around 11 PM. When you are up blaring music at midnight, don’t be shocked when you get a letter or visit from the HOA because of it.

Pet Policies

Another common HOA violation has to do with pets. Some communities will have rules about the sizes of breeds of pets that you can have. There may be rules about where the pets can go and what they can do in other cases. For example, dogs may need to be leashed at all times.

Trash Pickup and Garbage Storage

Many HOAs have rules for where you can leave your trash bins, which is to maintain the overall look of your neighborhood. Most require that you keep the trash bins hidden away, either in the garage or the back of your home, instead of leaving them out in the plain view. Some may even have regulations regarding what you can toss out (your king-size mattress might be a big nono), whether you need to break down the cardboard boxes, and where to leave the trash bins on pickup days.

Property Exterior

The way your home and property look could also violate the rules. If you want to paint your home or even add new windows or doors, you may need to consult with the HOA. This goes for landscaping in your yard, too.

Gardening and Landscaping

Overgrown lawns are generally frowned upon in our country, but if you live in a community with an HOA, that could mean warnings and hundreds of dollars in fines. Since the HOA is responsible for the community’s appearance, your lawn certainly matters. Some HOAs even have rules governing what plants you can have and where you can grow them.

Off-Season Holiday Decorations

Yes, it’s a thing! Your HOA board might not allow you to hang skeletons all along your fences for Christmas. Some may even have restrictions on when to start and take down your decorations. If you do it too soon, that might mean a warning or fines coming your way, which could potentially ruin your holidays.

Parking and Vehicles

You might think that “well, I own the property, and I should be able to decide what to park on my driveway.” Sadly, that’s not always the case if your neighborhood has an HOA. Since maintaining the look and quality of the community is the HOA’s primary responsibility, they might restrict the types of vehicles you can park on the property and where cars can be parked in the neighborhood. 

Thinking about buying a boat or RV? It might be wise to check with your HOA first to see if you’re allowed to park it on your property. Chances are you would need to find off-site storage, which may cost you an additional $100 to $400 a month.

Illegal Rentals

Last but not least, many HOAs have rules regulating whether homeowners can sublet their properties or not. This is often for safety and insurance purposes, as a community’s insurance policy is highly dependent on the ratio of owner-occupied vs. renter-occupied properties. 

Bottom Line

In conclusion, no, an HOA generally cannot evict you. However, you need to be aware of your HOA rules and regulations so you don’t violate them and end up with fines or a lien on your property.

The more you know about the possible violations you could be penalized for, the better you will be able to stay away from them. Of course, if you disagree with your HOA’s rulings or regulations, there is a good chance your HOA has an internal system or protocol for dealing with these disputes.

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