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What You Should Know About Deed-Restricted HOA Communities

Posted by Jane F. Bolin, Esq. | Aug 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

You're going to be subject to certain rules and regulations. They're not meant to prevent you from enjoying your home and property, but they might restrict certain freedoms you might want to keep – such as the right to own a large breed dog. That's something you'll want to know beforehand.

What, exactly, does purchasing a home in a deed-restricted community mean? Generally, it means that you live in a neighborhood with a governing homeowner association (HOA) that enforces certain regulations having to do with the physical appearance of homes, as well as how the property can be used. Here's what you need to know.

Sort of like snowflakes

Each deed-restricted community can be different. It decides its own rules and regulations. Most – especially in Florida – are governed by an HOA. Thinking of buying a home in a deed-restricted community? You'll want to gather all the information about what you can and cannot do before you decide to make the real estate purchase.

Most of the rules and regulations are meant to preserve a certain neighborhood “look and feel.” They're not meant to prevent you from enjoying your home and property, but they might restrict certain freedoms you might want to keep – such as the right to own a large breed dog. That's something you'll want to know beforehand.

Skyrocketing popularity

Deed-restricted communities have experienced growth. There were only about 6,000 HOA-governed deed-restricted communities in the United States back in the 1970s. It's estimated that today there are over 157,000 of them. The three states with the most HOA communities are Arizona, California, and Florida.

What's caused this explosion in deed-restricted community living? Many people say they prefer the stability provided by having a homeowner association that enforces the way neighborhood looks. Not everybody shares that preference, though. Some feel that being told what color they can paint their house, or what kind of mailbox they can have out front, is simply too restrictive.

The price to pay

Living in a deed-restricted community that's governed by an HOA comes at a cost. Often, these fees can be paid annually. It means you'll want to be aware of the HOA fees at the time you purchase your home, so you're not surprised by an unexpected fee anywhere from $1,200 to $3,600 – or even more.

Are these fees worth it?

It's a personal preference, and it gets back to how much you want an external group of fellow homeowners to regulate certain aesthetic elements of your home and property. Generally, properties in HOA communities hold their long-term value better because the maintenance of the overall neighborhood remains in better condition.

Homeowners in a deed-restricted community governed by an HOA agree to maintain their property. If a homeowner neglects this responsibility, the HOA usually responds quickly. This vigilance is what your HOA fees pay for – as well as a host of other things. Often, your fees pay for the upkeep of shared amenities such as pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, and common areas.

Some of the things under HOA jurisdiction can include:

  • Architectural style of structures you add to your property.
  • Where cars can be parked, including street parking.
  • Types of vehicles that can be parked in the neighborhood. You may discover that RVs, camper trailers, or even boat trailers are prohibited.
  • Paint colors for exteriors.
  • How many and what type of animals can live on your property. Got a pet pig? You might be out of luck. Same goes for chickens in your backyard.

Is this a forever kind of thing?

Deed-restricted communities governed by HOAs can and do expire. This has already happened in Brevard County neighborhoods. This is because of the Marketable Record Title Act, which requires all deed-restricted community charters to expire within 30 years of being put into motion.

Once the deed reaches the expiration date, the association can no longer enforce rules or collect HOA dues. Nevertheless, some communities have decided to continue following the rules and regulations. However, they have no way to force new residents to do this.

Know before you buy

A deed-restricted community isn't everybody's cup of tea. Most people find the rules and regulations amenable and believe it's a reasonable price to pay in exchange for stability. It's up to you to know what those rules and regulations are before you make a purchase. You'll sign a document that says you are aware of the HOA rules, and that you'll abide by them. Contact us to find out how we can help you understand the deed-restricted community you'd like to live in.

About the Author

Jane F. Bolin, Esq.

Founding Member, Managing Partner


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