Newport Beach Real Estate Attorney

Restrictions by HOAs

What restrictions may a Homeowner's Association impose? Homeowner's Associations are formed for the purpose of establishing rules and regulations for a community.


Mitchell Reed Sussman These are for the common benefit of all within the community. For these rules and regulations to have any affect, they must be enforceable in some way. Exactly what restrictions can be imposed and how they can be enforced is something which the board of a Homeowner's Associate must consider as well as homeowners who may disagree with see rules and regulations.

In affluent California coastal areas such as Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast and Huntington Beach, it's common that such rules include a provision that neighbors not obscure the ocean views of another homeowner in the Association.

Other common rules and regulations a Homeowner's Association may impose on homeowners are:

1) A requirement to pay an association fee.

2) Regulation of pets, especially outside the home.

3) Restrictions regarding homeowners renting to others, especially short term.

4) Standards for maintaining the appearance of the home and yard.

5) Occupancy limits on those residing in a home, as well as parking restrictions on the streets and in the driveways.

6) Noise levels and hours acceptable for parties.

7) Requirement that homeowners take out and maintain insurance.

8) Age restrictions within limitations of the Fair Housing Act and Housing for Older Persons Act.


There are some restrictions a Homeowner's Association may not impose as doing so would violate various laws which protect homeowners from such unreasonable restrictions. If a Homeowner's Association attempts to restrict ownership or occupancy in violation of the Fair Housing Act, such restrictions would not be permitted to stand and an action can be brought against the Homeowner's Association for doing so. In addition, a Homeowner's Association may not ban the use and installation of a satellite dish due do FCC's Over the Air Reception Devices Rule. While some older Homeowner's Association rules may still contain such restrictions, fining a homeowner, or attempting or threatening to fine a homeowner for such violations is itself against Federal law.

Age restrictions are allowed only if they are nondiscriminatory. For example, a 55+ community may require that a primary resident be 55 years of age or older, but the community association is far more limited on the restrictions for those residing with the primary resident, allowing additional residents to be restricted in age only to 45 and older. The exception is if such person is a spouse, or if they can demonstrate physical or economic support needs of the primary resident with courts having enjoined those from residing in a 55+ community with a qualified primary resident until they've reached 45 years of age.

In all cases, to be enforceable a homeowner must have prior notice of the rules and regulations of the Homeowner's Association. These are provided in writing in the association's Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R's). These are voted on and approved by the residents of the community. A Homeowner's Association may only enforce the rules and regulations passed by the members and only those that are not unlawful.

The method of enforcement by a Homeowner's Association is by way of imposing fines and, if further violations continue, civil actions against the homeowner violating the rules and regulations. The police do not have authority to enforce Homeowner's Association rules and regulation unless they are also a violation of a state or local law. A civil action by a Homeowner's Association is separate and apart from a criminal action of violating a local law. A homeowner who violates a Homeowner's Association rule that is also a violation of a local law can be faced with both a fine by the Homeowner's Association and a fine by the city.

Fortune Builders, The Ultimate Guide to Homeowners Association Rules
(https://www.fortunebuilders.com/hoa-rules/)

Adams Stirling Professional Law Corporation, Senior Community Laws
(https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Senior-Community-Laws)

Law Offices of Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP, Can Underage People Live in Senior Housing?
(https://www.kts-law.com/can-underage-people-live-in-senior-housing/)

Investopedia, 9 Things to Know About Homeowners Associations
(https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/homeowners-associations-tips.asp)

The California Association of Homeowners Associations, Inc., Homeowners Associations Association Rules and Regulations for Homeowners
(http://www.calassoc-hoa.com/Homeowners-Association/Documents-Forms/Rules-Regulations.aspx)


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