hoa problems


6 Years
Sep 23, 2013
Hi not sure if this is the correct place. But we bought our first chickens and they were 2 days when we got them. They are now laying eggs. They have become pets to our entire family. Our hoa rules state you can not own poultry for commercial reasons. We do not sell the eggs or chickens. They are for personal use only. Our hoa was tipped off by a realtor that we had chickens and now are forcing us to get rid of them. We feel we have not broken any laws. Do hoas have the right to make new laws as they please or shouldn't we at least be grandfathered in? My young kids will be devastated. Were not sure what we can do. Thank you.
HOAs do not make laws. They generally can make rules, and they have covenants that are considered legal obligations: a contract between the HOA and each homeowner. Most states have some statutes that controls the amount and scope of authority that an HOA has. For example, in AZ, HOA's cannot restrict flying the US, state and several other flags, although they do have some amount of authority over the location and size of the flag and plagpole. The cannot foreclose on fines owed, and to foreclose on unpaid assessments requires that the lack of payment is longterm and a large amount. Lots of other things as well, such as most information and meetings are open to members, etc.

In your case, you need to see exactly what your CC&Rs state. Exact phrasing makes a difference as this is legal and binding document.
Thanks for the reply. The exact wording is. No animals, livestock, or poultry shall be kept for commercial purposes. That's all it says. When I spoke to them they said it was misworded and will be changed. But I signed it under those terms.
Unless there is something ALREADY in the CC&Rs that allow them to make that kind of correction (and it is highly unlikely) then it would require normal CC&R amendment procedures, and at least until then you have the right. Normal amendment procedures requires a large percentage of the members (usually 2/3rd or more; often 75%, and sometimes 100%) to agree to the change.

My HOA made a mistake in its initial paperwork, and that is why we are actually a condominium rather than a planned community. A condominium with acreage instead of shared walls! They initially thought they could pencil-whip the change, until they were told by an attorney that they could not.

My recommendation is to send a written reply to them stating that pencil-whipping a contract change is not legal; then state the terms set forth in your documents for amending the CC&Rs, and state that that is what is required to make changes. (If there are no stated amendment procedures, then it would require 100% approval.)

In the meantime, start a grassroots effort to get your neighbors on your side in the matter.

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