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What can a homeowners association regulate?

If you are considering the purchase of a Louisiana condominium, townhouse or home, check to see if it is located in a common interest development with a homeowners association. If so, make sure you understand the HOA’s governing structure, its rules and regulations regarding the community’s homes or units, and the annual dues and monthly fees it charges individual homeowners before making your buying decision.

FindLaw explains that the main purpose of a homeowners association is to ensure a level of uniformity within the community, such as by specifying what colors of exterior paint you can use or what type of siding, shingles and roof you can have. The second main purpose of an HOA is to maintain the community’s common areas such as streets, sidewalks, alleyways and any amenities such as a park, playground, swimming pool, tennis court, clubhouse, etc.

Types of regulations

Each HOA is different and the number and types of things it can regulate vary from community to community. Familiarize yourself with the HOA’s list of restrictions to determine if you can comfortably live within those boundaries once you move in. In addition to exterior paint colors and roof and/or siding specifications, an HOA often has other restrictions as well, including the following:

  • What kind of fencing, if any, you are allowed to erect and where it can be erected
  • What kind of landscaping you are allowed to have, such as lawn, trees, shrubs, hedges, gardens, yard art, etc.
  • What kinds of pets, if any, you are allowed to have and how many of them
  • What kinds of home business, if any, you are allowed to operate
  • What kinds of outbuildings, if any, you are allowed to erect
  • What kinds of children’s play equipment, if any, you are allowed to install and where it can be installed

In addition, many HOAs regulate what type(s) of vehicles, if any, you can park on the street and how much noise you and/or your guests are allowed to make, particularly after dark. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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