What should you do if your HOA denies your project?

People who move into a neighborhood a homeowners’ association governs know that they will have to follow the rules of that HOA. It’s advisable to review those rules so you can ensure you comply with them.

One of the rules that’s likely present is that you have to get permission to make alterations to the home’s exterior. This can include things like adding a deck, painting the shutters or adding landscaping.

Read the covenants, conditions and restrictions

Before you start any outdoor project, read the CC&Rs for the neighborhood. This will tell you can do and how to get approval for projects. This must be done before you start doing anything because it’s a waste of time and money if you don’t.

Most HOAs have an application that you have to fill out if you want approval for a project. It can take a while, sometimes 60 days, to get approval. You should start the approval process as quickly as you can so your project won’t be on hold if they take a while to approve it.

Be prepared to fight for your project

There’s a chance that the HOA will deny a project, but not all denials are valid. HOAs can’t create rules on the fly that they want people to follow. The stipulations regarding the project must be clearly spelled out in the CC&Rs. If you don’t see anything there, you may need to approach the HOA for reconsideration.

You may have to take legal action against the HOA. This isn’t something that most homeowners want to do because it can cause tension in the neighborhood. Trying to work out the details of a project without legal actions is admirable, but some HOAs won’t step back until you get the legal system involved.

HOAs are supposed to enhance neighborhoods, but there are limits to what they can do. If they go too far or try to uphold terms that aren’t part of the CC&R for the neighborhood, you do have actions that you can take. Work with someone familiar with these matters so you can learn your options and find out how to proceed.