Your opinion should matter to your local Homeowners Association. This is why law demands that any homeowner bylaws that HOAs want to push forward need to be submitted to a referendum before they can be enforced in a contractual agreement. But what are HOA bylaws and what can you do if things aren’t going your way? This article aims to answer these questions for you.
HomeOwner Bylaws are also known as regulations in America (this is because by-law is the common terminology that is used in countries like the UK and Canada). Most Homeowners Associations arrange meetings for a proposed HOA bylaw to be discussed and debated in more depth before any decision to vote on it is made. Most HOAs vote democratically, with the option that gets the majority of votes prevailing as the option which will be pursued.
It is understood that there have been circumstances where people’s wishes have been ignored and Homeowner bylaws have been passed by the Board of Directors against the best wishes of the community. Even though such instances of corruption are very few and far between, it is essential that any unreasonable or corrupted HOA bylaws are challenged through legal means as soon as possible. This is because it is harder for older bylaws to be removed than newer ones.
Legal action is not something that should be considered lightly and it should only be treated as a last resort. Even though the advantages when you sue your Homeowners Association can include highlighting the unreasonable regulations which have been passed by the organization that represents you, the extreme legal costs of hiring a lawyer can make the entire process a waste of time and money. That said, there are many ways to tackle your homeowners association legal problems on your own.
There have been instances where homeowner bylaws have directly affected some people and in this case, the only way that they have been able to protest has been by applying to be elected onto their Homeowners Association Board of Directors. This can give you the better influence to make a change in your community, as well as the opportunity to learn more about how HOAs are run.
If circumstances like other commitments mean that applying to be elected as a Director for your local Homeowners Association isn’t a possibility for you, initiating what is known as a ‘grass roots’ movement can be an alternative. This is where petitions are signed and your fellow neighbours and homeowners are persuaded for a bylaw to be overturned and for an alternative to be sought.
However, if the HOA bylaws were brought in by a majority in the first place, you could find this a difficult procedure (unless the homeowner bylaw hasn’t proved to be a success).
All of this said, you do not need to be on the Board of Directors or to be inconvenienced by a bylaw in order to make a change. If you have an idea which you believe could improve your community for the better, suggesting it by attending one of the meetings which is co-ordinated by your Homeowners Association can get your voice heard.