8 Ways To Be The Best Homeowner In Your Community


Many people believe that homeowners association communities are too strict. The HOA board takes following policies too seriously, overcharges monthly fees, and puts holds on your access to amenities.

Most of the time, this isn’t the case.

According to the Community Associations Institute, 90 percent of people say that they’re on good terms with HOA board members.

To help you be a better neighbor, here’s a basic list of tips from IKO Community Management.

Pay HOA fees on time. Monthly HOA dues go toward community amenities, including athletic fields and courts, pools, and landscaping. On occasion, it pays for community-wide services, like trash pick-up, recycling, and snow removal. Whether by mail or online, the HOA relies on you to pay fees on time. It keeps the community running.

Keep the noise level down. Most homeowners do a good job at keeping the noise level down, but this rule is in place for a few rowdy neighbors. From blasting music after midnight to mowing the lawn at dawn, these actions result in an HOA fine and disrupted community harmony.

Be considerate in common areas. Since HOA fees go toward building and providing these amenities, treat them respectfully. Look up the common area subset of rules.

For example, some HOA communities allow the common area to be used by more than one but less than all of the homeowners in the development. Another common rule is that renter of Condo 1A has the exclusive right to use the parking space identified as 1A. That means Condo 2B can’t park there.

More common area rules include opening and closing times, littering violations, smoking locations, and proper attire.

Understand pet policies. Most communities allow pets in a home, but some HOA rules detail about breeds, sizes, and quantity of pets per home. Homeowners should also abide by the pet policies on cleaning up feces, barking, and leashing pets when taking them outside.

Don’t create a home-based business – if your home isn’t qualified. If your home was bought for “residential use only,” the HOA most likely has restrictions about running a home-based business. Though exceptions occur for consulting parties, it’s best to check with the HOA board first.

Be aware of traffic, parking, and towing policies. Understand public and private streets when driving through an HOA community. The neighborhood must have visible signs, but if you don't abide by them, expect towing, HOA fines, or amenity suspensions. These consequences go for homeowners and/or their guests.

Don’t lease out your home. Two basic types of rental restrictions exist:

  • Limiting the total number of leased residences within a development

  • Requiring new homeowners to live in a home for a specified time before it can be rented.

Because variations exist in each HOA community, check with the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Easements (CC&Rs) before renting out a room in your home.

Keep up the appearance of your home. Homeowners should be aware of HOA rules about the appearance, especially the exterior, of their home. Check with the HOA board before making drastic modifications.

Submit a request* to receive a copy of the CC&Rs, the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, the Architectural Review Changes (ARC), and other governing documents like maps and future plans.

By abiding by these HOA rules, you should be one of the best neighbors in your HOA community. For more information about living in an HOA community, subscribe to our blog. Click on the button below to get started:

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*If your community is under IKO Community Management, click here to request your copy of guidelines and restrictions.