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Condo Association Approval Process

March 4, 2023

Homeowners or residents living in a condo under HOA management must abide by property maintenance, renovation, and remodeling regulations. 

Depending on the homeowners association voting rules and policies, those who may wish to develop an existing property into two or more condos will also usually require approval.

The HOA governing documents will set out the requirements for HOA board members, with guidelines on how to run an HOA according to localized bylaws and state regulations. They can be a useful starting point to determine the policies within your HOA.

Why Do Condo Owners Need HOA Permission to Remodel?

Remodeling a home or carrying out repairs without approval from your HOA could mean added inconvenience, cost, and time if the contractor you hire or the property's appearance contravenes HOA guidelines. Even smaller projects run far smoother with prior consent, and we’ll explain the steps to seeking HOA approval before work begins below.

The HOA sets various standards, such as appraisal rates for property valuations, and normally aims to improve neighborhood living standards as an overriding objective. Their management policies will include factors like:

  • Contractual requirements for residents to adhere to
  • Terms and rules about the nature of remodeling permitted
  • Limitations on external remodeling to preserve average property values

Examples could include specified paint colors or rules around yard maintenance and repairs to fencing, landscaping, or boundaries.

Which Property Work Requires Consent From the HOA?

Any remodeling that comprises a significant amount of work within an HOA-managed area will usually need authorization, including rewiring, knocking through walls, or altering the home's appearance.

The approval process is there to avoid negative impacts on the neighborhood or the value and stability of the property. HOAs can also prohibit certain repairs, like modifying roofing or changing garage or entrance doors, where the finish will be out of character.

Your HOA should provide a full list of guidelines, limitations, and requirements in the homeowners' or residents' handbook and be able to offer this documentation on request.

How to Seek Approval From an HOA for Condo Remodeling

Each HOA may have varying policies, but the general process is to provide association members with forms to complete, showing the scope of the work. They may also need to verify the competence of your selected contractor to ensure they are appropriately insured and registered.

1. Review HOA Contractual Requirements

The first step is to review the HOA agreement you signed when you purchased your home or moved into the property, which will establish the appropriate standards. Be sure to check color schemes, permitted working hours, licensing requirements, and rules around building materials.

2. Arrange a Discussion With an HOA Representative

Many HOAs assign property managers to groups of properties or will offer a forum for members to consult a board member. Working through the approval process, asking for an indication of the likelihood of approval, or understanding the time frames can be useful.

3. Submit Your Application

Finally, you will need to submit an application with supporting information. The more detail you specify, the better, as this will allow the HOA to review your project thoroughly without needing clarification. 

Once the HOA has approved your application, you can proceed with the work on your condo, complying with requirements in terms of materials, colors, or architecture, with the assurance that your local association can provide support where necessary.

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