Voluntary HOAs and Their Powers

shutterstock_380682880HOAs are a great way for homeowners to come together to create a community they truly desire. However, not all HOAs are mandatory. Voluntary HOAs also exist, and you should learn more about them and their powers.

What Is a Voluntary HOA?

Generally, most people assume you have to join an HOA if you move into a neighborhood that has one, and this is commonly the case. These are known as mandatory HOAs. If you want to live in that neighborhood, you must join the association, follow the rules and pay the dues. A voluntary HOA or a community association is not mandatory. If you don’t want to join or comply with the rules and regulations, you don’t have to.

How Is a Voluntary HOA Similar to a Mandatory HOA?

Voluntary HOAs share many traits with Mandatory HOAs. Some neighborhoods have extremely formal voluntary HOAs with officers and dues. These voluntary HOAs can even be incorporated, becoming nonprofit organizations. Like a mandatory HOA, they can create rules and guidelines for living in the neighborhood, but the rules and regulations must follow state and federal laws.

How Does a Voluntary HOA Differ From a Mandatory HOA?

In other ways, a voluntary HOA is quite different from a mandatory one. For starters, unless members are required to sign contracts, the voluntary HOA will have a hard time enforcing rules. If a member breaks a rule, and there is no signed contract, the HOA can’t charge them a fee or penalize them in any way. The best they can do is try to help the homeowner fix the problem. If members of voluntary HOAs fail to pay their dues, the HOA cannot put a lien on the home, which is common in mandatory HOAs.

Which Is Better?

Both types of HOAs have their pros and cons, so the question isn’t really which is better. It’s which do you prefer? Mandatory HOAs force you to follow the rules and penalize you if you don’t, but this also means the neighborhood is often more pleasant and beautiful. In a voluntary HOA, you don’t have to follow the rules if you don’t want to, but no one else does either, so the neighborhood may suffer.

The best way for a voluntary HOA to work is if everyone communicates on what type of neighborhood they want because if everyone is shooting for the same goal, they are more likely to comply. If someone is having a hard time complying, lend a hand.

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