Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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What can’t an HOA enforce?

While homeowners’ associations (HOA) in Missouri can require individual homeowners to stick to certain rules, there are some areas that are simply out of their purview. Steering clear of making unenforceable regulations is important from a legal perspective, as doing so could result in a costly and time-consuming lawsuit. In this case, offers the following examples of what an HOA cannot do.

Issues fines that aren’t included in bylaws

Any offenses that result in an HOA fine must be included in the bylaws of the association. Homeowners will be privy to certain rules when moving into a home, and it’s incumbent upon them to follow these rules or face recrimination from the HOA. However, an HOA can’t arbitrarily enforce rules that don’t exist, whether it comes to parties or upkeep of your lawn. Guidebooks issued by an HOA should include rules in detail, as well as the process for adding new ones or making appeals.

Discriminate against certain groups

The Fair Housing Act stipulates that all people should be able to access safe and affordable housing. As such, an HOA is not permitted to keep protected classes from accessing housing if they’re otherwise qualified. Protections include race, ethnic group, religion, the nation of origin, political beliefs, and even sexual orientation in some states. Discriminating based on these characteristics can lead to a huge legal battle for an HOA.

Dictate your cable TV options

According to the Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule created by the FCC, people are allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to cable TV. This includes installing a dish, which some HOAs find fault with because it’s considered aesthetically-displeasing. Even if an HOA has lws on the books dictating the types of TV antennas that are considered acceptable, these regulations are no longer applicable in the wake of the FCC’s decision. 

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