Which Community Rules Can not Be Enforced by the HOA or Community Association

Are you someone who comes under the HOA community guidelines? Maybe you fall under the rules of a community association.  If so, this article is for you.

Humans are not perfect and since humans write homeowners’ association regulations, it is natural that they are imperfect. 

You may like to think that all of the restrictions in your HOA are reasonable and be enforced. 

However, unenforceable HOA laws exist in many areas—and you may be unaware of what happens when HOA rules are not enforceable.

Let’s dive into the matter a little bit deeper. 

What are invalid HOA rules?

The HOA members enforce the HOA rules, and their purpose is to control the behavior of the community’s individuals. The goal is to ensure that maintenance, upkeeping, and management of the community can run as smoothly as possible. 

HOA Rules vs HOA coventants

Some individuals confuse HOA rules with HOA covenants. 

HOA covenants can be found in your association’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). 

These govern the responsibilities and rights of the association and its members. 

Hoa CC&Rs

HOA regulations and covenants, in essence, define what homeowners (and the HOA) may and may not do with their property. 

The goal of the CC&Rs is to protect, preserve, and increase the value of the properties in the community. 

HOA bylaws

The bylaws, on the other hand, govern how the HOA operates.

Since a HOA is usually set up as a nonprofit corporation, an organization is established to manage a private, planned community. 

Like other corporations, the HOA is governed by a board of directors who are elected by the members and a set of rules called “bylaws.”

Are all HOA bylaws legally binding? 

How can you tell the difference between unenforceable and enforceable HOA rules? 

Unenforceable HOA rules are those that fall under one or more of the following categories:

  1. Violates rights or violates the law,
  2. No ability to act,
  3. Incorrectly carried out,
  4. Inconsistently or selectively enforced.

In wich cases are HOA rules not enforceable?

Violates rights or violates the law

Federal and state laws, including constitutional rights, precede an association’s governing documents. As a result, regulations that go against the law are unenforceable. Common HOA restrictions in this area include the following:

Freedom of Speech

Regarding free speech, homeowners and homeowners’ associations frequently disagree. Political speech and shows of patriotism, particularly regarding signage, are two common topics of concern.

Many societies limit the sorts of signs that homeowners can post, and some even prohibit all forms. However, in certain states, organizations have little capacity. 

In Maryland, for example, HOAs may not prohibit homeowners from displaying political posters on their property during election time.


The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits associations from discriminating against homeowners and potential homeowners based on race, religion, national origin, gender, familial status, and handicap. As a result, a restriction prohibiting women from using the gym during particular hours blatantly contradicts this statute.

Bear arms right 

The Second Amendment is still a contentious issue in the United States. The usual rule for homeowners’ organizations is that they cannot prohibit residents from possessing firearms, which is one of homeowners’ HOA privileges. However, the organization may limit weapons in public or common areas. After all, homeowners have a right to feel comfortable in their neighborhood.

No ability to act

The rule may be unenforceable if the HOA lacks the authority to act on a particular regulation. Fines are an excellent illustration of this. 

Can a homeowners’ association fine you? 

Yes, HOAs can generally levy fines when homeowners break a regulation. But can an organization punish you solely for being a member? The HOA may only levy fines for infractions if the governing documents or state laws permit it. That’s another tale.

Incorrectly carried out

It is also worthwhile to consider how regulation were implemented. Typically, an HOA’s covenants and bylaws are included in the declaration at the time of organization, and such rules are rarely problematic.

Can an HOA modify its regulations after a purchase? It is unusual for HOAs to change their bylaws. In reality, many organizations’ regulations are constantly changing or being added to. If you recently purchased a house in an HOA neighborhood, expect the rules to stay the same for a while.

Inconsistent or selective

Most HOA governing agreements and state legislation define the procedures associations must follow when enforcing a rule. 


The procedure usually entails issuing written notice and allowing the homeowner to be heard by the board. When such procedural criteria are not met or are enforced inconsistently, the homeowner has the right to contest the rule’s enforcement.


Another issue that many organizations face is selective enforcement. Some governing bodies will apply regulations to one homeowner but not to another. This form of enforcement also occurs when boards implement some regulations while ignoring others.

What should you do to prevent breaking a HOA law?

There should be no unenforceable HOA regulations in homeowners’ communities. 

To do this, board members must ensure that HOA regulations do not infringe on any laws or homeowners’ rights.

They must also ensure that they can enforce these regulations and create or alter rules by state laws and governing documents. 

Finally, boards must always apply regulations consistently and uniformly to avoid issues.

Many associations struggle with rule enactment, alteration, and enforcement. 

As a result, people turn to HOA management businesses or community association management businesses to help them with these chores. Please begin your search for a local HOA management business that best meets your needs today by using our online directory.