If you are buying a home or condominium in a homeowners association, complex, or development, there are rules that you’ll need to adhere to. The HOA or homeowners association has its own rules, bylaws, and covenants that all property owners need to abide by.

Related: Five red flags and HOA is in trouble

Of course, nobody wants to be in the wrong but you may be subject to making these violations without even knowing it. Here are seven common HOA violations and how to avoid them,

#1. Vehicle violations.7 Common HOA Violations

Associations often limit how many vehicles a property owner can have or even what type of vehicle such as an RV or boat. There are always rules about speed limits and parking in designated areas but if you have more than two vehicles or you have an unusual vehicle like a food truck or commercial truck, there may be rules against parking on the property.

#2. Rentals.

Not every Association or complex allows you to sublet or rent your property. This might be for security and insurance purposes and most associations require written permission in order to rent the home. It is common for complex not to allow more than about 50% of the properties to be rented, so if the complex is currently at maximum, homeowners may need to be put on a waiting list.

#3. Pets

Pets can be a big issue when it comes to Association rules. Most covenants and bylaws have some limitation as far as the type of pet, the weight of the pet, and the type of pets. Pets are usually required to be on a leash and for the owner to pick up after the pet. Some complexes may have a designated dog park area but to maintain the safety and cleanliness, all homeowners are required to pick up after their pets.

#4. Noise levels.

Noise ordinances and quiet times are often strictly enforced, especially in complex buildings where units are directly next to each other. However, this may fall in line with many cities and county noise ordinances well even if the Association doesn’t have its own restrictions.

#5. Design changes.

Most homeowner associations have strict rules about changing the appearance of the home, specifically externally. You can’t simply paint the outside of the building, at a patio or deck, or change your mailbox. Certain things need to be approved so if you have questions about remodeling the inside of your home, check with your Association before pulling permits or planning a renovation.

Related: 5 Red Flags an HOA is in Trouble

#6. Decorations.

Holiday decorations may also be limited. Some rules include how long before and after a holiday a property owner can decorate and some associations may regulate the size and type of decoration allowed.

#7. Trash and waste.

Most homeowner associations have strict rules about what property owners can throw away and how they throw those items away as well. Recycling items are typically required to be broken down or there may be rules against putting trash out too early or not bringing them in on time.

More: 20 Things That Can Kill a Real Estate Deal

Ignoring these rules could put you in violation of the Association covenants and either get you suspended, evicted, or even a lien could be on your property if you are delinquent on payments. Consequences of violations can be costly and if a covenant or by law is broken, it’s up to the Association to notify the offending resident and allow them to either comply or pay a fine.

Contact my office today if you’re interested in a condo, townhouse, or single-family home in a particular homeowner association throughout Snohomish County. If you’re looking for a property that’s not in an association, I can definitely give you a list that fits your search criteria and price.

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