Whether homeowners want to renovate their homes to sell the property or to improve the home for their own use, renovations can be a source of conflict within the community. Noise, dust, and the unsightliness of construction can irk other homeowners and cause tensions to rise. The best way to prevent unnecessary conflicts is to regulate renovations and ask homeowners to seek HOA approval before starting work.
The Importance of HOA Approval
Homeowners may be surprised to learn that renovations and repairs, inside or outside their homes, must go through the HOA first. While they may reason out that it is their property to change as they please, ah HOA can counter that the owner resides within a planned development. This means they are not the only people who may be affected by these renovations and repairs.
Every resident should be required to apply for prior HOA approval for any renovation that they plan on attempting. This gives the board the chance to make sure the renovation adheres to the governing documents and to inform the homeowner of any existing regulations so that they do not unknowingly break a rule. This gives everyone the opportunity to adequately prepare.
Some homeowners may be tempted to go over the board’s head and proceed with renovations anyway. In such a case, the board can halt progress or force the homeowner to redo everything even after completion, regardless of whether or not the renovations comply with the governing documents.
HOA Renovation Rules to Have
Here are four homeowners association rules on renovations every HOA must consider:
1. Set Time Limits
Other residents grow understandably frustrated when they are rudely awoken in the early hours of the morning by nearby pounding. Loud construction during the evening hours when families are trying to have dinner or family time is equally frustrating.
To prevent conflict from arising, the board should establish set times during the day and week during which construction can occur as part of its HOA repairs rules.
Usually, construction should start no earlier than 9:00 a.m. and end no later than 5:00 p.m. This way, most residents will be either at work or school, lending a sense of normalcy to everyone’s lives. Restrictions should also be put in place to prevent construction from occurring during the weekend when most other residents are home. This rule alone, while simple, can already prevent a lot of disagreement.
2. Require Daily Clean Up
As part of the HOA rules and restrictions on repairs and renovations, residents and the construction crew should be required to clean up the area at the end of each day as much as possible. This prevents the area from being an eyesore 24/7, resulting in better curb appeal and a higher satisfaction rate among homeowners.
It also helps prevent injuries. Homeowners should also be regulated to keep all construction on their property alone so that it does not infringe on the yards or homes of neighbors.
3. Set Duration Limits
Nobody wants to live next to a home in poor condition for months on end. All construction projects should be completed within a set time frame so that the property is not in a perpetual state of disrepair. If the HOA and homeowner agreed to have the repairs or renovation work done in two months, the latter must stick to that promise.
4. Make a Plan for Enforcement
An HOA board’s enforcement of these rules is perhaps the most important part of the equation. The board must firmly establish a list of consequences for any infringements of the rules.
First of all, the homeowner understands the regulations and the consequences of breaking each rule. In the event of an infringement, the resident should then receive a written warning.
Depending on the governing documents of your association, if the resident continues to disregard the regulations, the HOA may have the right to enter the property or home in order to clean the area. Fines for exceeding time limits can also be levied against the homeowner.
Which Renovations Need HOA Approval?
Homeowners will naturally wonder which repairs need HOA approval. Does the board have a say when it comes to simple things like replacing a door? Or does their opinion only come into play for larger-scale repairs and renovations? Contrary to popular belief, HOA approval is not exclusive to exterior repairs or renovations.
Generally, homeowners must seek HOA approval for the following:
- • Any repairs or renovations affecting the exterior of the home
- • The addition or relocation of plumbing
- • Any structural changes, such as removing or relocating load-bearing walls, adding rooms, and even kitchen renovations
- • The addition or rewiring of electrical
- • Flooring
On the other hand, homeowners typically do not need HOA approval for the following:
- • Bathroom Remodel
- • Light fixtures
- • Kitchen sinks, appliances, and counters
- • Interior wallpaper, paint, or trim
When it comes to landscaping, it depends on whether it is visible above the fence line. Because HOAs need to maintain a certain level of appearance, any landscaping visible beyond the fence line will usually require approval.
It must also be noted that what homeowners can and cannot change without HOA approval varies from community to community. An HOA’s CC&Rs will typically contain provisions regarding this matter, so it is best for homeowners to refer to these documents or ask the board first.
How to Get HOA Approval
Not all HOAs are created equal. As such, the process of getting approval for repairs and renovations differs per association.
More often than not, though, HOAs will require homeowners to complete project forms or submit a project proposal containing all the details of the renovation.
The HOA board may already ask for a timeline and projected completion date, as well as who will be conducting the renovations, so the homeowner must enter prepared.
After that, the board will review the submitted documents and use them as a basis for their decision. If a project gets denied, the homeowner may be asked to change a few things to comply with the governing documents and the HOA rules. The project may begin after the board gives approval.
Always Seek HOA Approval When It Comes to Changes
A thriving community relies on cooperation and open communication. Reporting and seeking approval for home repairs or renovations must be a standard procedure when it comes to HOA rules on renovations. Some homeowners may feel like they should not be controlled by the HOA, but this will only create discord among members of the community. To limit the disruptions and conflict, homeowners must follow HOA renovation rules.
If your HOA is having trouble managing requests for renovations, it may be time to hire an HOA management company. Should it come to that, keep us in mind.
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