Can you refuse to join an HOA?

Dated: May 2 2023

Views: 43

**** From an article in Rismedia

When you buy a home constructed more recently, there is a good chance it will be part of a homeowners association. The HOA will maintain the community areas and ensure certain standards are followed.

But all this does mean extra fees and more restrictions on what you can do with your home. This might mean you don’t want to be part of the HOA.

So, can you refuse to join a homeowners association? This is a popular question, along with can you be evicted from a condo? In both circumstances, owners are usually unhappy with the rules they must follow.

Do you have to join the HOA?

Joining the HOA isn’t always mandatory, with some operating a voluntary membership. If you don’t have to join and choose not to participate, you will not receive the benefits membership provides.

You’ll also avoid HOA fees, special assessments, and the requirement to follow their rules.

Though if membership to the association is mandatory, which most are, there usually isn’t a way to avoid paying their dues and abiding by their rules. When buying a home in an HOA neighborhood or a condominium association, joining is often a condition of purchase.

If you don’t want to join the HOA, buying a different home is the only way to avoid it. The same holds when buying a townhouse.

Situations where membership could be optional

If a homeowners association is founded in the neighborhood you are already living in, you likely won’t have to join. This can also happen when a voluntary HOA membership changes to mandatory.

If the association isn’t receiving enough funds to maintain the community facilities, the board might conclude they have to make joining mandatory.

When this happens, joining the association will remain optional for owners already living in the neighborhood. The covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) can be altered to mean that when you sell your home, the new owner will be obliged to join even if you choose not to.

It is the perfect example of the importance of research before buying in a neighborhood.

Dissolving the HOA

If you have to join the HOA but would rather opt-out, it is possible to dissolve the association. However, this course of action isn’t easy or cheap, so it is better to exhaust other options first.

If you still want to eliminate the HOA, having your neighbors on your side is better. The more people who agree with you, the easier it will be to abolish the association.

Normally, 80% of the members must vote in favor of dissolving the association. State law and the CC&R documents will determine how the HOA can be dissolved.

real estate attorney must be hired to dissolve the HOA legally, and this cost can be shared if there are other unhappy members.

Other options for dissolution of the HOA

Before beginning the difficult process of dissolution, there might be better options. What are the reasons for wanting to dissolve the HOA? If you and your neighbors are unhappy with the management or the restrictions, this could be solved another way.

If you attend the HOA board meetings, you can voice your opinions. If this doesn’t work, consider becoming a board member. You and your neighbors have the power to make the changes that will turn the community into a better place to live.

Final thoughts

Before buying a condo or a home where a homeowners association exists, thoroughly reviewing the covenants, rules, and regulations is essential.

You must ensure you can live with what exists. Otherwise, you could find yourself very unhappy with your purchase decision.

Selling and moving elsewhere in a short time could be very expensive. Take the time to read over everything carefully and ask your attorney to look for a second set of eyes.

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Paul Visconti

Multi functional Jack of All Trades and Master of....(all of them, lol). I am presently working as a Realtor for SENNE in Cambridge, owner of the Upper Cut Hair Salon in Revere and former antique and ....

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