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HOAs and Property Additions: Three Tips to Protect Your Rights

Remodeling, renovating, or adding to your property can be a great way to spruce up a home. As noted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a home remodel is associated with increased happiness as well as an increase in property value. Of course, that is only true if the renovation goes off without a hitch. There are few things more stressful and frustrating than a home renovation project gone wrong.

If you are a member of an HOA, one of the biggest risks comes from the association itself. We have represented clients who were given an extremely hard time by their HOA. Indeed, our Scottsdale, AZ HOA attorney has even handled cases where an HOA failed to raise an objection when a homeowner was making a clear and obvious addition to their property, only to then complain and make them tear it down after the project was completed.

We want to make sure that individual HOA members have the information and resources that they need to best protect their rights and avoid this sad, frustrating scenario. Are you considering renovating your home or adding to your property? Here are three tips that you can use to protect yourself:

  1. Obtain and Review Your HOA’s Governing Documents

HOA members need to know the specific rules and regulations that govern their community. Most likely, there are restrictions on what a property owner can and cannot do to their home. The governing documents should give you a better view on the community rules. Specifically, these documents should explain:

  1. What type of home renovations and property additions are allowed; and
  2. What steps you need to take before making major changes.

In most cases, community association members will have access to an important document called a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, and Easements (CC&Rs)—which should explain what you can and cannot do. Most likely, the CC&Rs will detail certain restrictive covenants.

Of course, every homeowner association is different. There are some HOAs in the Phoenix area that only put relatively mild restrictions on their members. In contrast, there are plenty of other HOAs that are very strictly regulated. Make sure you get a copy of all HOA documents and review them to determine if your renovation/addition is acceptable and what steps you need to take before starting the project.

  1. Consider Seeking Approval for Your Project

HOA members do not need to seek approval for literally every minor home improvement project. If the faucet on your kitchen sink is malfunctioning, replacing it is not likely to raise any issues. That being said, it is often a good idea to seek approval for any major renovations or additions—especially if you are altering the exterior of your property or a shared wall.

Many HOA communities require homeowners to seek express approval for major projects. Failure to do so could end up causing you serious problems down the road. The community association may take legal action against you. Under Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statutes § 33-2002), HOAs can fine members for violations as long as they provide sufficient notice and the financial penalties are reasonable. Further, in the worst and most frustrating cases, they may even make homeowners tear down expensive and time-consuming projects that have already been completed.

  1. Be Proactive: Get Professional Legal Help When Problems Arise

If you run into problems with your homeowner association, it is imperative that you take immediate action to protect yourself. An experienced Scottsdale, AZ HOA lawyer will be able to review the specific nature of your case and offer you guidance on how to best move forward. Our law firm can help you if:

  • You are reviewing your Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, and Easements (CC&Rs) and you have questions about what steps to take next;
  • Your HOA rejected your proposed renovation or property addition and you want to review your options for appealing the decision; and
  • You have started a remodelling project or property addition and your HOA is now threatening legal action against you.

Arizona’s community association laws are complex. Navigating the legal process can be challenging—and we understand how frustrating and overwhelming it can be to go up against a homeowner association that simply refuses to budge. Our legal team will help you understand your options and work to achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact Our Arizona HOA Law Attorney for Immediate Assistance

At The Law Offices of Mary T. Hone, PLLC, our top-rated Arizona homeowners’ association attorney is a skilled, solutions-oriented advocate for clients. If you have questions about property additions and your HOA, we are here to help. For a strictly private, no commitment case evaluation, please  contact us today. From our law office in Scottsdale, we represent clients throughout Arizona.

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