Before buying a home in the Sunshine State, you may want to see if the neighborhood has an HOA. These associations maintain the common areas of the community and enforce the rules and restrictions contained in the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions or CCRs.

The association begins as part of the master development plan. State law dictates the powers an association can wield. Discover three things HOAs may do under the CCRs and state statutes.

1. Restrict the type of pet you have

You love dogs and have several faithful companions. Before you put in an offer, check the CCRs for pet restrictions. Some neighborhoods do not permit certain exotic pets and dog breeds. If this restriction exists, it typically bans aggressive breeds such as Pitbulls and Dobermann Pinschers.

2. Deny the installation of a fence or playset

The HOA is responsible for ensuring that the homes in the neighborhood look a certain way. A rundown house may bring the value of the others down. The CCRs give the HOA the power to approve all exterior work to the home, including the backyard. You may need to gain approval for a fence, sports equipment and playset.

3. Place a lien on your home

The HOA collects annual dues that go towards maintaining common areas. At closing, you will sign a document acknowledging that:

  • The HOA exists
  • It enforces the CCRs
  • The HOA has the right to lien your property for non-payment of assessments

A lien makes it impossible to sell your home without first paying the HOA plus all legal fees.

Becoming a homeowner in a neighborhood with an HOA has perks. However, it is important to understand the conditions that also go along with it.