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What to Know Before Moving

What to Know Before Moving

Nothing says “new beginnings” like moving to a new house. While looking for the perfect home, you may come across an option that’s in a community with a homeowner’s association, also known as an HOA.

HOA boards are responsible for maintaining a neighborhood’s quality of life, which means enforcing rules you and your fellow neighbors will need to follow. If you’re unfamiliar with community living, here are a few quick tips to help you better understand HOA rules.

What Are Some Common HOA Rules?

Knowing community guidelines ahead of time will make moving stress-free. Here are some of the most common rules that you’ll find at most HOA’s:

  • Resident behavior: Noise levels, trash disposal, and property maintenance are often strictly enforced. 
  • Pet ownership: Restrictions may include the type of breed, size, quantity, and areas in the neighborhood where you can walk your pets. 
  • Vehicles and parking: Restrictions on the number of vehicles, types of vehicles, and where you can park are typical.
  • Renting property: There might be restrictions on subletting in certain communities. 
  • Landscaping: Rules on curb appeal maintenance and which plants you can keep are in place to protect the neighborhood’s aesthetic. 

What to Do If Your HOA Says You Broke a Rule

Don’t worry if you ever find yourself in a situation where your HOA says you broke a rule. Here are a few quick tips about how to proceed.

Don’t ignore it 

Address the issue head-on, because pretending the problem doesn’t exist won’t make it go away!

Take action to fix the violation

Carefully document the steps you have taken to correct the violation:

  • Write a letter outlining what you’ve done to resolve the issue
  • Include photos to support your case, if you can

Providing evidence will show the HOA that you’re taking the violation seriously and attempting to remediate the issue.

Consider legal counsel 

It doesn’t hurt to seek legal counsel if you feel you’ve been wrongly penalized or are unsure of your homeowner's rights.

Join the HOA board

If you’re looking to get more civically involved or make changes in your neighborhood, you can help by volunteering for an HOA position.

What About Home Improvement Projects?

If you’re a fan of home improvement, there are projects that could require HOA approval before you can begin. Fortunately, Lemonade put together a helpful visual of the projects that will or won’t need HOA permission:

Image that shows which home modifications do or do not require HOA approval
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