• Home / 
  • Learn / 
  • What is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?
Dan Green

Dan Green

Since 2003, Dan Green has been a leading mortgage lender and respected industry authority. His unwavering commitment to first-time home buyers and home buyer education has established him as a trusted voice among his colleagues, his peers, and the media. Dan founded Homebuyer.com to expand the American Dream of Homeownership to all who want it. .

Buffalo Ny Condo - Homeowners Association

How We Make Money

Homebuyer.com is your trusted guide to homeownership. Since 2003, our team has offered real-world expertise and advice to tens of millions of U.S. home buyers. Our content stands on its integrity: it's factual, unbiased, and free from outside influences. Read our editorial guidelines.

Homebuyer.com is a mortgage-company-affiliated publisher. We earn compensation when you click specific links on the website, or apply for a mortgage with Homebuyer.com or a partner listed in our comparison tables. Our partners compensate us differently, so we randomize our tables to protect our readers from steering. We may also earn compensation for advertisements on the site, which are indicated clearly. Note that limitations in our software, whether we originate mortgages in your area, and credit factors may affect the offers and comparison tables you see on various parts of this site. We do not include offers for every mortgage product available. Someday, we hope we will.

Trusted Content

Trusted Content

This article was checked for accuracy as of January 11, 2024. Homebuyer.com ensures every piece of information we share reflects the latest in mortgage standards. Learn more about our commitments in our editorial guidelines.

What is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?

A Homeowners Association, typically called an HOA, is a volunteer organization comprised of residents that governs a community.

A Longer Definition: Homeowners Association

A homeowners association (HOA) is a legal entity that manages a residential community. HOAs are most common in condominiums, townhome complexes, and planned communities.

Homeowners associations protect neighborhood home values by investing in the community, providing amenities to its residents, and maintaining curb appeal standards. An HOA may also pay for shared services including building and lawn care, fitness room and pool amenities, and elevator maintenance.

In condominiums, the homeowners association pays for the building’s master condo policy, which is necessary for every warrantable condo.

Residents of HOA-governed communities must join their local association and follow its rules, known formally as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).

Rules are proposed and voted on by community residents and may include any of the following:

  • Requirements for lawn and property upkeep
  • Restrictions on external buildings, including sheds and accessory dwelling units
  • Restrictions on fencing types and external paint colors
  • Restrictions on political signage and lawn ornaments
  • Restrictions on pet size and type

HOA membership requires monthly or annual fees paid to the community which are included as part of a home buyer’s PITI and change their debt-to-income ratio. Association dues vary by community.

Homeowners Association: A Real World Example

First-Time Home Buyer Stories: Homeowners Association

Imagine a first-time home buyer purchasing a property in a condo building. A homeowners association manages the building and, after settlement, gives the buyer a detailed handbook of community rules, known as by-laws.

Condo by-laws include notice of monthly dues, penalties for community violations, and information on attending regular HOA meetings. They also include regulations for short-term rentals, guidelines for balcony decorations, and restrictions on pets and pet sizes.

After moving in, the home buyer decides they want to be a pet parent, which the by-laws state requires HOA approval. The buyer attends an upcoming association meeting and asks the Board of Directors to allow a new dog in the building. The board asks about the dog’s breed and its expected full-grown size, to which the home buyer replies. The board grants the home buyer’s request.

Common Questions About Homeowners Associations

Why do people live in HOA communities?

Living in an HOA community typically gives home buyers access to well-maintained amenities, a uniform and aesthetically pleasing neighborhood, and a structured process for resolving disputes, which some people value.

Do HOA dues increase?

Yes, HOA dues can increase. However, dues increases are typically voted upon by the elected members of the HOA board and used to pay for maintenance costs, building reserves, and improvements in the community.

What happens if a homeowner violates the HOA rules?

Homeowners who violate HOA rules can be warned, fined, or face legal action, depending on the severity, the frequency of the violation, and the community by-laws.

Are HOA rules legally binding?

Yes, HOA rules are legally binding. When a home buyer purchases a home in an HOA-governed community, they agree to abide by its Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, which are enforceable under the law.

What’s the difference between a property owners association and a homeowners association?

A Homeowners Association (HOA) manages residential communities, such as single-family homes, townhomes, or condominiums. A Property Owners Association (POA) typically has a broader scope, including residential and commercial properties in a mixed-use community.

Approve Your Mortgage - Instantly!

Wave goodbye to waiting times and say hello to our Immediate Mortgage Approval. It's more than just a mortgage - it's your ticket to home-buying freedom, available anytime you are. With ultra-low rates at your fingertips, the power to secure your future is just a click away. Why wait for office hours? Your home doesn't.

       A Homeowners Association, typically called an HOA, is a volunteer organization comprising residents who govern a community.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Be a better buyer. Subscribe now and never miss out on exclusive insights, new market trends, and first-time buyer programs.

Ready to get started?

Finding your dream starts here. Apply in minutes.

Get Pre-approved
© 2021-2024 All rights reserved. Growella Inc d/b/a Homebuyer. Homebuyer.com is powered by Novus Home Mortgage, a division of Ixonia Bank, NMLS 423065. www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org Homebuyer is located at 230 Findlay Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45214. Novus Home Mortgage, a division of Ixonia Bank, is located at 20225 Water Tower Blvd. Suite 400, Brookfield, WI 53045. We have no affiliation with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Department of Agriculture, or any other government agency. US Government agencies have not reviewed this information and this site is not connected with any government agency. Equal Housing Lender. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. The receipt of the application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply.