What to expect Living in Deed Restricted Communities – HOA/Cooperative/Condominium Associations

It’s Easier to Ask Forgiveness Than It Is To Get Permission is a quote from the late Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, who was a U.S. Naval officer. While Admiral Hopper’s quote is frequently used to mean do the right thing within the bureaucracy of a large organization, whether or not those in charge know it in order to help those for who you work, this principle does not work well within the bureaucracy of an HOA.

If you want to paint your house, you better get permission. If you want to change your landscaping, you better get permission. If you want to let your kids leave their toys in the front yard, you better not! So when Admiral Hopper said, “It’s Easier to Ask Forgiveness Than It Is To Get Permission”, she was most likely not thinking about life in an HOA. The axiom “My Home Is My Castle” does not necessarily apply, if you live in an HOA and more and more Floridians are living in them.

According to iProperty Management, as of 2019, the statistics for Florida are that:

  • There are 48,500 HOAs in Florida.
  • Roughly 9.57 million people live in HOA communities.
  • Each HOA has an average of 197 residents.
  • 5% of the state’s population lives in HOA communities.
  • 3% of homeowners are part of HOAs.
  • An estimated 3.52 million homes are part of HOA communities.
  • Home ownership statewide is 66.2%.

While HOA rules do provide many benefits, such as the visual uniformity of the neighborhood, the retention of higher property values, and a quieter standard of living, these rules can also be difficult to navigate, feel too restrictive, and often cause frustration to the point where the homeowner feels they are being unfairly treated. The unfortunate truth is that every home buyer in an HOA should be provided with at least the disclosure that the property being purchased is located in an HOA community or actually provided what is known as the Governing Documents of the Community. These include the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R), the By-Laws, and the Rules/Regulations. Sadly, many home buyers fail to read these Governing Documents prior to purchasing their home, which results in a most shocking experience when they later attempt to make an improvement to their new home or worse receive a violation warning letter from the HOA’s property management company.

While there can be many areas that an HOA can control and regulate, some of the more obvious are as follows;

  1. The lawn must be maintained in a way that conforms to the HOA’s standards.
  2. 2. Advanced permission is required to alter the exterior appearance of the home.
  3. 3. There could be a limit on both the type and number of pets you can have inside your home.
  4. 4. Parking rules and regulations are usually long and strictly enforced.
  5. 5. What you think is a part of your home, like a patio or walkway, may legally not be and the HOA can control it.

Lake Highlander has homes for sale!