5 things your HOA can’t do

If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, or HOA, you may notice that there are several rules to adhere to. An HOA can keep your neighborhood safe and aesthetically pleasing, but it can also be difficult to keep up with the outlandish demands of board members. If you’re a New York homeowner, here are some things your HOA can’t do according to real estate law.

Discriminate against you

An HOA can’t prevent you from moving into a neighborhood based on your ethnicity or race. The Fair Housing Act protects U.S. residents from housing discrimination.

Forbid you from drying clothes outside

Even though a clothesline in your yard may not be visually appealing, the HOA can’t prevent you from drying your clothes in the sun. A clothesline saves you money on electricity bills, so you can use this method if you’d like.

Force you to pay fines

According to real estate law, HOA fines are not illegal, but the reason for the fines must be clear in the association’s bylaws or rules. If you’re getting letters in your mailbox instructing you to pay a fine, check the HOA rules to see if you are required to comply.

Make quick decisions

The HOA treasurer can’t decide all of a sudden that everyone in the neighborhood needs to change their mailbox color or grow a certain type of flowers. HOAs are not permitted to make sudden changes according to real estate law statutes, especially if they’re not listed in the organization’s rules.

Demand that you remove your dish

You can use the cable TV service of your choice. If you have a satellite dish, the HOA can’t make you remove it due to the Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule from the FCC.

As a homeowner, you’re guaranteed certain protections under the law. If you’re worried about a violation, you may want to reach out to an attorney.