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Homeowner’s Legal Rights

What can homeowners expect when living in an HOA (Home Owner Association) or COA (Condominium Owner Association)? Whether an owner lives in a condominium complex or planned unit development, they have specific legal rights as defined in the Association’s governing documents, state and federal laws. (Note that these are broad legal principals, which may vary by state.)

There are two overriding legal principles that owners should understand.

1. Each unit owner must give up a certain degree of freedom of choice which they might otherwise enjoy in separate, privately owned property since they are living in close proximity and using shared facilities.

2. Association boards collective rights of the community above the individual’s rights when it comes to the community’s needs

Board Meetings
Owners are entitled to reasonable notice and an agenda for all open association meetings. They can attend and address the board at open meetings at the time and in the manner established by the board.

Inspection of Records
Owners can inspect many of the financial and other records of the HOA, although they may have to pay the copying and postage costs.

Disclosures
Homeowners are entitled to annual and other disclosures which include items such as:
• Architectural Procedures
• Assessments
• Budgets
• Collection Policies
• Financial Information
• Fines
• Insurance Information
• Meeting Minutes
• Reserves
• Rules

Hearings for Disciplinary Action
Owners have a right to notice and the opportunity to attend a hearing if disciplinary action is being considered against them, including fines.

Communicating with Other Members
Owners can inspect and copy the Association’s membership list, or have access through a mailing house, unless their purpose is retaliatory or for business solicitation. Typically, owners are required to pay for copy and mailing costs.

Serving on the Board
If they qualify, owners have the right to run for the Board. They are also entitled to a fair election with equal access as other candidates (including incumbents) to the Association’s resources.

This list of owner’s rights and entitlements is not all-inclusive. Owners may have additional rights, as defined by the Associations Bylaws, restrictions, and policies.

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