Homeowners associations (or HOAs) are designed to maintain the standard of living in a neighborhood. In some circumstances, this may require taking action against homeowners or tenants who violate association rules. Some homeowners, however, may feel that their HOA has unreasonable rules or enforces the rules in an unfair and arbitrary manner.
If you are involved in a homeowners association dispute, it is important to understand the association’s eviction powers.
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Can a homeowners association evict a homeowner?
A homeowners association cannot evict a homeowner the same way that a landlord can evict a tenant. A landlord typically has a lease that allows the landlord to give the tenant a certain amount of time to correct a problem, move out, or face eviction. Serious problems may lead the landlord to seek an eviction without giving the tenant an opportunity to fix the violation.
A homeowner has more rights than a tenant because the homeowners association does not own the home. Nevertheless, homeowners in an HOA agree to abide by the association’s rules and bylaws when they purchase the property.
These rules typically allow the association to fine a homeowner for violations. If the homeowner does not pay the fines, the association may have the authority to foreclose on the property, which could force the homeowner out.
The association’s goal, however, is to get the homeowner to correct the problem rather than make them move out. If the homeowner does not agree with the decision or rule, they can appeal to an association board or seek a homeowners vote to change the rules. Homeowners who cannot attend association meetings may be able to vote using a Homeowners Association Proxy.
Can a homeowners association evict a tenant?
When a homeowner leases to a tenant, there is a chance the tenant may violate association rules. When a tenant is a nuisance to other homeowners, the association may seek eviction.
Generally, the association needs to go through the homeowner rather than the tenant. That’s because the association’s agreement is with the homeowner and the tenant’s agreement is with the homeowner. So the association does not have a relationship with the tenant.
Because the homeowner is responsible for the tenant, the homeowner should include the association rules and possible fines the tenant may be responsible for in the Home Rental Agreement. If the tenant receives communications from the association, they should communicate with their landlord.
Some jurisdictions may allow an association to directly evict a tenant or, in certain circumstances, force a homeowner to terminate a lease. This is something that should be reviewed with a local attorney.
What happens when a homeowner does not pay HOA dues?
Financial troubles or a dispute with the association may lead to unpaid dues. The association rules and bylaws will generally specify a late payment penalty or interest. If a homeowner becomes chronically delinquent paying HOA dues, the association may have the authority to foreclose on the property. The sale proceeds would, in part, go towards satisfying unpaid association obligations.
Some states allow the homeowners association to collect rent directly from the tenant. Once the association sends proper notice to the tenant and homeowner, the tenant must pay the association and the homeowner has no power to evict for nonpayment provided the tenant makes association payments. The association may apply the rent towards delinquent HOA dues and then give the remaining rent to the homeowner.
Is there a way to avoid HOA fees?
There are three possible ways to get out of homeowners association fees.
First, if the fees violate state or local law, the homeowner is not liable for any illegal portion of the fee. For example, fee increases may be capped by law, so the homeowner would not have to pay the excess amount.
Second, if the fee violates the association rules and bylaws, the homeowner can appeal to the association board. If the board does not reverse the fee, the homeowner can file suit in civil court.
Third, if a homeowner faces financial hardship, the association may provide payment plans or other deferment measures. The board may also make special arrangements.HOA disputes and overall dissatisfaction with HOA rules can lead to legal questions. To learn more about your rights and how to handle a dispute between a homeowners association and homeowner or tenant, ask a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable and timely advice.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.