You cannot refuse to join a homeowners association if you purchase a house in a community operated by a mandatory HOA. However, if you’ve already purchased your home before the HOA was formed, you can refuse to join since no legal contract was signed binding you to the association. You can also refuse to join a voluntary HOA.
We all know that all HOAs mean well. But sometimes, they can be a pain in the as*. If not for anything, but for some of the rules and regulations that may be annoying sometimes and the high rate of HOA fees being paid. In all, it is still for the benefit of the whole community.
HOA is there to ensure that there is value in every property in the community. They are there to ensure that the social amenities in the community are in order. They also ensure that there is coordination in the community.
For example, an HOA rule can mandate homeowners in the community to grow a specific type of plant to avoid growing a plant that will grow rapidly into another person’s backyard. They can even mandate all homeowners in the place to paint their house the same color, and the type of zinc to use.
Sometimes, the rules can be annoying considering some may have a favorite color they wish to paint their house. These rules are there to ensure that the properties in the community are in conformation with each other; which may increase the property values of the community. But the question is, can you refuse to join a homeowners association?
Can You Refuse to Join a Homeowners Association?
You cannot refuse to join an HOA if it is a mandatory HOA. Once you purchase a house in a community operated by mandatory HOA, you are automatically a member, you must have signed a legal contract to join the association during the purchase. However, if it is an area operated by a voluntary HOA, you can refuse to join without getting into trouble.
Determinants of Joining a Homeowners Association (HOA)
Joining the HOA depends on three things; they are:
1. If Your House is in Mandatory HOA Community
As reiterated earlier, if you purchase a house in a community that is operated by a mandatory HOA, you can never refuse to join the Association.
As a matter of fact, once you’re done purchasing the house and making every necessary payment, you’ve automatically joined the association.
This is because you must have given your consent to the association in some of the documents you signed when you purchased the house.
This is why it’s good to make use of a good real estate agent. They are supposed to tell you everything you need to know about the house and the community as well. And as a buyer, you are supposed to inquire if the community is operated by HOA or not.
If you find yourself in a community that is operated by a mandatory HOA, that is it for you. You cannot refuse to join and there is nothing you can do about it. The only way out is by selling your house and moving to another community that is not operated by an HOA.
2. If You Have Purchased Your House Before the HOA was Formed
If you have already purchased your house before the HOA was formed, you can refuse to join the HOA because you did not and have not signed any document consenting to the association. And since no one should be forced to sign a contract, you can choose to sign the contract and join or refuse to join.
However, it is important to note that this method of refusal can be very tricky. If you must use this means to refuse to join the newly formed HOA in your area, you must ensure you did not sign any paper stipulating that the community can have HOA in the future.
If when purchasing your house, you signed a document that makes the availability of HOA in the future for the community. You have already given your consent and must join because the paper you signed states that the community can have HOA in the future.
If you are sure that the papers you signed do not have the term “HOA” on them, then you are good to go. You can stand your ground and refuse to join the HOA. If the HOA disturbs you, you can lawyer up. Remember that HOA can be sued.
3. If Its a Voluntary HOA
By the name alone, it’s obvious that it’s not a must to join neither is it a by force thing. You can refuse to join an HOA that is voluntary and won’t get into trouble because it is voluntary. No contract was signed, neither was there any mandatary consent given.
Voluntary HOAs are usually a group of like-minded homeowners who gathered together to form an HOA for the benefit of the whole community. They perform the same duties as the mandatory HOA but in a limited way.
Voluntary HOA cannot sue you if you don’t pay your HOA fees, they don’t enforce rules because no consent was given by contract. It is just a willing thing that some homeowners gathered to do.
Voluntary homeowners associations are fun to join. At least, it is not a must to follow the rules. If you don’t want to paint your window red, you can simply tell them you prefer green on your window rather than red. They will not punish you because it is voluntary participation.
Is a HOA Membership Mandatary?
HOA membership is mandatory if your house is located in a community operated by a mandatory homeowners association. But if your house is located in a community managed by a voluntary homeowners association, you are not mandated to join the association. You can choose to join or not.
Can You Be Forced to Join an HOA?
You cannot be forced to join an HOA if you already bought your house before the HOA was formed. This is because you did not agree to the association when you purchased your house. But, if a mandatory HOA has been existing in the community before you purchased your house, you will be forced to join the association.
Also, even if the HOA was not in existence when you purchased your house, you can still be forced to join the association if HOA was mentioned in the papers you signed when you purchase your house.
Can You Just Ignore HOA?
You cannot just ignore a mandatory HOA that has been existing in the community before you purchase your house without running into one problem or the other. You must pay their fees and follow their rules. However, you can ignore a voluntary HOA as no signed contract is legally binding you to the association.
Can An HOA Prevent Me From Selling My House?
Yes, an HOA can prevent you from selling your house if there are HOA fees you are yet to pay. If you have outstanding fees you have not paid in your HOA, they can prevent you from selling your house until you pay the fees and get a clearance certificate in respect of the fees.
How Do I Know If My HOA is Voluntary?
You know if your HOA is voluntary if you did not sign any contract binding you to the association when you purchase your house. You can also know your HOA is voluntary if they don’t enforce their rules. Voluntary HOAs don’t mandate you to pay HOA fees and won’t punish you if you don’t pay the fees.
Can a Voluntary HOA Enforce Covenants?
No, a voluntary HOA cannot enforce covenants because no homeowners signed a contract consenting to the association. All members of the voluntary HOA are generally voluntary. They are like a community association that works together to protect the properties in the community.
You cannot refuse to join an HOA except it is a voluntary HOA or if you have already purchased your house before the HOA was formed. If you did not sign any documents that have the term “HOA” on them when you purchased your house, you can refuse to join the homeowners association. Also, if you have not signed any contract consenting to the association, you can totally refuse to join and when the HOA tries to pressurize you, you can bring legal charges against them.