When running a homeowners association, you have to be knowledgeable in more than just your responsibilities. You also have to understand the rights granted to the residents in your community. While buying into an HOA comes with certain responsibilities for them, it doesn’t mean they don’t have protected rights under the law. Infringing on these can lead to a host of issues for you. Know what lines you shouldn’t cross to avoid legal issues.
Entering a Residence vs Trespassing
Houses or condos in an HOA are subject to certain regulations, but that doesn’t make them like apartments or rental properties. You cannot enter a home under your association without permission for just any reason. Knowing when you do and don’t have explicit permission to access a residence is crucial to avoiding legal issues.
There are a few cases when entering a home without permission is acceptable. Consent is not required in cases of an emergency, such as a gas leak, fire, or possible injury to a resident. Some urgent repairs, like roof leaks or blocked sewers, allow access without permission—but these should be clearly defined in your association’s governing documents just in case. In rare cases, covenant violations can justify unauthorized entry. Be sure you are well versed in your bylaws and CC&Rs, as well as local ordinances in any non-emergency case.
Recording HOA Board Meetings
It’s a question often asked in HOA management and by HOA residents, “is it legal to record HOA board meetings?” The answer goes further than a simple yes or no. The board gets to decide who can record and when, and can change their policy from meeting to meeting. Board members are within their rights to record the meeting while not allowing third parties to do so. While this is the general understanding, it is still good to check with local ordinances just in case.
The authority for this should be explicitly stated in the CC&Rs. These give the board the right to establish a code of conduct for meetings, which can include rules on audio and video recording.
Providing Bylaws and CC&Rs
Every resident in your community is entitled to a copy of the HOA bylaws and the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). These should be provided to new homeowners when signing. It is not required to supply additional copies if the resident loses theirs—but making governing documents easily available to community members helps with communication and compliance. You’re also required to file CC&Rs (or a contact for obtaining them) with your county recorder.
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