What is an HOA?

A homeowners' association (HOA) may be a legal entity created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a community of homes. It is given the authority to enforce the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCRs) and to manage the common amenities of the development. It allows the developer to end his responsibility over the community, typically by transferring ownership of the association to the homeowners after selling off a predetermined number of lots.

A homeowners' association is incorporated by the developer prior to the initial sale of homes, and the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs) are recorded when the property is subdivided. When a homeowner purchases a home governed by an HOA, the CCRs are included with the deed.

An HOA provides people with shared neighborhood values an opportunity to enforce regulations, consistent with overriding statutory constraints, to achieve a community representative of such values. In doing so, an HOA inherently restricts the freedoms that would otherwise exist for its members based on municipal codes. For instance, a degree of conformity is often required in exterior appearance of single family homes and there are often time limits and/or restrictions to activities generating noise. There are pre-existing rules in the form of CCRs and bylaws that a buyer has a right and an obligation to view before entering such a community, that also prescribe methods for modification of these regulations.