HOA board members are usually appointed annually through homeowners elections. While they have several powers to enforce rules and issue violation notices, they cannot evict a homeowner immediately.
However, residents agree to abide by HOA rules when they purchase a property or sign a rental agreement. They can face serious repercussions if they refuse to conform to bylaws and other regulations.
There are normally several requirements for HOA board members, mitigating the potential for malicious activity. Still, there can be scenarios where an HOA is legally entitled to foreclose on the home and force an eviction.
Homeowners may need to pay maintenance fees or contribute to their HOA to cover neighborhood services, such as managing communal areas or repairing parking bays and play spaces. They can also be issued fines, following due process, where they have breached a bylaw or committed multiple violations with accumulating penalties.
In this case, the HOA could foreclose on the property if they have the authority to do so, granted in the association governing documents and according to state-specific laws. The HOA will, more often, attempt to communicate with the resident to find a solution and encourage them to correct the issue. Homeowners may wish to appeal to the board or request a vote from the membership to change a rule they perceive as unfair.
While appeals processes or member elections are ongoing, it is very unlikely an HOA would be able to evict a homeowner.
A similar situation applies to tenants renting a property under HOA management from the homeowner. HOAs can seek an eviction order if a tenant violates rules or causes disruption that negatively impacts other residents.
Normally, the HOA must liaise with the homeowner initially, rather than the tenant, because the owner usually has signed the HOA agreement and is bound by the rules. Landlords should advise tenants from the outset of association policies and potential fines for rule breaches and include this information within the rental agreement to avoid doubt or miscommunications; however, some states will permit HOAs to evict a tenant directly or force the owner to terminate the lease, usually with legal advice to ensure the correct procedures are followed.
If a homeowner refuses to pay fees owed to their HOA or receives violation fines without bringing their affairs up to date, the association bylaws and policies will often allow for interest charges or late penalties to be added. Homeowners who are repeatedly late or have accrued a large debt may be at risk of foreclosure, where the sale of the property repays the HOA with the balance belonging to the owner.
Where HOA fees are incorrect or unlawful, such as a fee increase that exceeds permissible caps, the homeowner is not liable to pay and can challenge this through a board appeal or civil court proceedings. HOA members in financial hardship may be entitled to apply for a staggered repayment plan, or to defer fees owing, where this is allowed within association rules.
Boards can also agree to special arrangements where unusual circumstances mean a homeowner cannot pay fees on time and has a justifiable reason. Where residents have a long-standing presence in the local community without prior issues, they may have greater access to leniency or exceptions to avoid the situation escalating into eviction.
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