Homeowners are sometimes caught off guard by the power their homeowners’ association has to assess fees and to control external modifications to the homes in the subdivision. To understand more about the powers of homeowners’ associations and your rights, read these tips.
- Before you buy a home, ask if there is a homeowners’ association. Get a copy of the bylaws and covenants and read them carefully to understand the rights and powers of the homeowners association, as well as your responsibilities as a homeowner.
- Talk to neighbors about the homeowners’ association. Are they happy with the homeowners’ board and the property management company?
- Make sure you understand fees you’ll have to pay and how these fees may change. In most cases, a homeowners’ association may require its members to pay for construction or repair of common facilities. Be aware that you will have to pay the fees even if you don’t use the facilities.
- Make sure you understand the homeowners associations’ oversight powers. For example, you may have to seek approval of any architectural changes you want to make to your home, like paint color or additions.
- Understand the law. Subdivisions with homeowners’ associations established after Jan. 1, 1999, are governed by the North Carolina Planned Community Act found in Chapter 47F of the North Carolina General Statutes. However, no state or federal agency oversees homeowners’ associations. If you are unhappy with a decision made by the homeowners’ association board, you can ask the board to review the problem or consider consulting with a private attorney.