In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of Homeowner Associations (HOAs) with Bill Jones as our guide. While some may find this topic as boring as watching paint dry, others will discover valuable information that they wish they had known earlier in their careers. Bill Jones, a self-proclaimed political junkie and seasoned expert, provides insights into the world of HOAs, shedding light on common misconceptions and shedding light on legal aspects.
HOAs are notorious for their numerous meetings, an aspect that Bill Jones humorously acknowledges. Contrary to the belief of many homeowners, the Supreme Court of the United States affirms that HOAs have authority over homeowners, necessitating their compliance. In 1999, a landmark case called Twin Rivers vs. Greater Twin Rivers established that HOAs are considered governmental agencies with the power to impose taxes, consequences, and even foreclosure if homeowners violate the agreed-upon rules.
Decoding the Terminology
Bill Jones explains that HOAs may be called by different names, such as Property Owner Associations (POAs) or Common Interest Developments (CIDs). These terms may vary regionally, but they all refer to a collective governing body that consists primarily of homeowners governed by a dedicatory document. In Texas, instead of using the term “non-profit,” they use “non not-for-profit.”
Why Choose to Live in an HOA?
Many homeowners wonder why anyone would willingly choose to live in an HOA due to the perceived loss of freedom. HOAs regulate various aspects such as yard maintenance and exterior home appearance, which can feel restrictive. However, by agreeing to be part of an HOA during the closing process, homeowners give up certain rights in exchange for a planned development community. The developer, in turn, recoups their investments by offering amenities and facilities such as parks, pools, and clubhouses. While membership fees may be required to access these amenities, opportunities for collective decision-making and property value appreciation should be considered.
Covenant enforcement is one of the main roles of an HOA. Homeowners are often surprised to learn that HOAs can dictate aspects such as parking or fence heights. Although variances can be requested, compliance with the established rules is expected. Additionally, with the introduction of reasonable accommodation policies during the Obama administration, HOAs have had to adapt to accommodate people with criminal histories or individuals requiring unique adjustments. However, some of these policies have been deemed unreasonable and are being revisited.
Opportunities and Investments
Over time, ownership and decision-making power within an HOA usually shift from the developer to the homeowners. This transition presents numerous opportunities for members to have a say in the community’s development and amenities. For example, in the case Bill Jones mentions, the developer donated a plot of land that was initially considered unusable. The HOA decided to build a clubhouse on the land, showcasing how opportunities in an HOA can be unexpected and beneficial to the community.
Collective management can be a challenging task for HOA board members who have their own lives and responsibilities outside of their HOA duties. To alleviate this strain, many HOAs opt to hire a management company, like the one Bill Jones operates. These companies help manage day-to-day operations, from collecting fees to maintaining common areas, thus ensuring smooth and efficient functioning of the community.
Legal Matters and Contracts
Bill Jones stresses the importance of legal support when dealing with HOAs and related matters. Homeowners often make the mistake of not involving an attorney when signing contracts or when issues arise with the HOA. By hiring an attorney, homeowners can protect themselves and enforce the agreed-upon terms. While some may argue that legal fees are unaffordable, the consequences of going without representation are far more detrimental.
Understanding the nuances of HOAs is crucial for homeowners looking to live in planned development communities. HOAs have the authority to regulate various aspects of homeownership, and their power extends to enforcing rules and collecting fees. However, by actively participating in the decision-making process and leveraging the opportunities presented by membership, homeowners can shape their community and ensure a fulfilling living experience. Legal support should always be sought when dealing with HOAs to protect homeowners’ rights and interests. With this newfound knowledge, homeowners can navigate the world of HOAs with confidence and make informed decisions.