A Homeowner’s Association, or HOA, is an organization of property owners that administer rules and uphold covenants of a certain subdivision, development, or condominium complex. The rules of a HOA affect or limit what homeowners can do on the property that they own. Historically, HOA’s have been somewhat difficult to deal with, but they are also becoming increasingly common in residential communities. So how do you ensure that you are in compliance with your HOA when making home improvements?

HOA bylaws often control the number of rooms in a house, the number of fences that can be present on a property, building materials, and even details as minor as the color that a homeowner can paint their house. As a homeowner, it is important that you are well aware of each of these bylaws and any other stipulations that a particular HOA has. One of the best ways to stay informed is to attend the community meetings and keep up-to-date on anything new that is happening in the community.

Sometimes, an issue may be brought to the attention of the HOA through one single resident. Befriending fellow members of the HOA and the residents in their community can help you establish goodwill with your HOA. If there is an issue, fellow residents will be more likely to come and discuss the problem with you first, before resorting to legal action.

Be aware of the HOA’s regulations and pay their dues on time. Although data has seen many of these rates increasing over time, the cost of not paying them is much higher. If dues are not paid on time, the HOA can foreclose your home. In some unfortunate circumstances, a HOA has not always had the best intentions at heart. Some HOA directors have even purchased the properties that they have foreclosed on, at a much lower price.

The key to working with a HOA is to stay one step ahead of the regulations. Know the rules and follow them, and make sure your home improvement contractor does too. If you do this, you can ward off any legal battles or other inconveniences in the future.