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What restrictions can neighborhood associations legally impose on members?

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Quick Answer

Neighborhood associations are not typically focused on imposing rules and restrictions on its members, but are volunteer organizations devoted to promoting community events and advocating for improvements in the neighborhood. The term "neighborhood association" is often confused with a "homeowners' association," which does enforce rules on its members. These rules cover various subjects ranging from lawn maintenance to satellite dish placement to the acceptability of pets.

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Full Answer

According to Nolo, individuals who purchase homes in a planned, covenanted community must become members of the homeowners' association and follow the rules outlined in a document called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. Failure to obey the rules can lead to fines or even a lawsuit. Members must also pay dues. If a member does not pay the dues or fines, the homeowners' association can place a lien on the house. This could result in a foreclosure.

There are some limitations on what rules homeowners' associations can enforce. These can vary by state. For example, Nolo reported that in Colorado, the state legislature passed a law in 2014 that provides residents with greater protection when it comes to debt collection, foreclosure and landscaping rules. Among other things, homeowners' associations in Colorado must have consistent debt collection policies and make a good-faith effort to work with the homeowner on this matter.

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