HOA enforcment discussion

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by chick1234, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. chick1234

    chick1234 Hatching

    Aug 30, 2010
    Can an HOA enforce rules that are not written in the code they give to the property owners? I was given a code at closing that did not have any rules against keeping chickens. After bringing chickens and setting up a coop for them, I got a letter from the HOA saying "chickens are not allowed". However it is not written in the code they gave me. Of the neighbors that surround my property, half of them are supportive and half are disgruntled. Can they enforce a rule that they did not inform me of at closing that is not written in the code they gave me?
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Quote:What state do you live in? Is there a provision in the CC&Rs that allows the board to set rules or bylaws? If so, then yes, they can enforce it. What they likely cannot legally do is create the rule and make it retroactive. The state laws governing HOAs may well come into consideration.

    What, if anything do the CC&Rs say about pets, animals, livestock, fowl, etc.?

    edited to add: this really ought to be entered as its own topic, not appended to a sticky that is not really related at all.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  3. CocoNUT

    CocoNUT Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    I can totally understand with Chick1234. When we moved into our home in a subdivision...there was NO HOA. No BylawsCovenants were EVER given to us at closing. The county and state laws have NO RESTRICTIONS against "poulty, fowl" etc. Currently our subdivision is less than 40% completed and of that 40%...maybe only 60% owned (not in some state of foreclosure). We were also never told there were going to be townhomes built in our subdivision.

    Currently we have an "HOA Board"...which is powerless as over 50% of the voting shares are still held by the developer. We also have a "property management company" who does little if anything to actually research Covenant complaints. THe Architectural Committee is the Developer...and although we were SUPPOSED to have a Rec Center, Walking Trails and Playgounds...NOTHING! (I'm still trying to figure out what we're paying our fees for....)

    Anywhoo...The Property Management Company is now starting to try to "enforce" the Covenants. (Of which we have STILL NOT received a copy). We are surrounded by stay-at-home moms and retirees who have NOTHING better to do than complain about SOMETHING...so you can see where this is going. I'm amazed the PMC will complain about you removing dead plants...but hasn't done ANYTHING to mow/maintain the vacant lots!!! They don't even follow up on foreclosed property maintenance! I had to call the Health Dept last year because of the 4 feet of standing water in the house next door along with the 3 foot tall grass! Snakes, mosquitos, mice, mold....

    If the HOA Covenants did NOT exist at the time of our closing...how could we have been given the opportunity to determine whether or not the 'restrictions' set forth would be acceptable for us? And HOW can they RETROACTIVELY apply them?

    Any ideas?
  4. australorpchick

    australorpchick Songster

    Feb 18, 2009
    Canyon Lake, TX
    Quote:I'm no expert, so take what I say with a grain of salt. If I'm understanding this correctly, when you bought your home the HOA was not in existence and you did not sign any paperwork acknowledging that you were required to join the future HOA. If this is true, you are not a member of the HOA and the HOA has no power over you. The only way the HOA has influence on you, is if you either acknowledge that there was a mandatory HOA and signed the appropriate docs at closing or the HOA was estabished after the fact and you agreed to participate in it or so much % of the owners voted to make it mandatory, or if CC&R's were recorded with the county prior to your ownership, you would be obligated to follow them and the HOA can act on behalf of other tenants to enforce the covenants. You should be able to get a copy of the CC&Rs from your County Clerk's office.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  5. foweler

    foweler Songster

    Mar 10, 2009
    Chico, CA
    Was there anywhere in the torrent of papers being placed before you at closing a contract you signed agreeing to HOA terms?
    Have you made any HOA payments?
    Either of those is accepting the terms.
    Can you find anything barring chickens anywhere?
    Can you find anything that has you agreeing to allow them to modify rules without explicit consent?

    If a key element in your decision to buy your property was that you had legal reason to believe that you would be allowed to have chickens and there is nothing you explicitly signed waiving those rights then you are in the right.
    Changing those rules (if you haven't agreed to allow that) is fraud.
    If the HOA won't change it's stance sue them or offer to sell them your house so you can move somewhere where you can live as you please.

    It might work.
  6. seismic wonder2

    seismic wonder2 I got mad ninja skills

    Feb 3, 2007
    san diego ca
    If they press the issue, find the clause against "farming" and make everyone with houseplants and flowers outside remove them.
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    More pertinent is finding out the dates documents were recorded, and it was noted on deeds that the property was part of an HOA and subject to its covenants. What is hte legal description of your property? That is a good starting place. Definitely look through all the papers you signed at closing to see if there was any HOA information. Contact the realtor you worked with and request him to verify whether there was an HOA in existance at that time.

    I don't believe you can be legally forced into an HOA after the fact. If there is common area that provides you with a benefit, costs to maintain it could make things sticky, though.

    However, it is possible that the HOA existed prior to your purchase of the property, and if that is the case, state laws on disclosure will determine your liabilities. Chances are that you are a part of the HOA and subject to their rules, but would have remedy against the seller, the title company and the realtors if there was truly no disclosure.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by