Living in residences that are part of the homeowner association has its perks. The associations help maintain an organized and cohesive atmosphere in the neighborhood and spare homeowners from some responsibilities.
However, homeowners have to adhere to the strict regulations usually spelled out in HOA’s CC&Rs (covenants, conditions & restrictions). Thus, if moving to such residences, homeowners need to join the existing HOA community and pay fees to cater to the cost of upkeep of common areas, exteriors, and shared structures.
What’s more, if planning to undertake a renovation project, you need approval to ensure compliance with the community’s rules and regulations. HOA rules vary from one community to another, but there are basics every homeowner should acquaint themselves with when undertaking a renovation project.
What is a Homeowner’s Association?
It is a governing body operated by an elected board of directors to manage a residential community. Members make annual, quarterly, or monthly payments to the association to facilitate the management of day-to-day operations of the community.
The primary objective of HOAs is to improve property value by holding homeowners to the same set of standards. It explains why you may be required to follow specific design, color or height restrictions when building a property.
Renovation Projects the Need HOA Approval
You need to seek HOA approval for exterior renovations like painting the exterior of a home, building a fence, and even changing the front door of your home. Similarly, the HOA requires homeowners should seek approval when undertaking interior renovations like replacing bathroom tiles.
This is because such a project affects the waterproofing of a bathroom and cause flooding. Of course minor projects like replacing a wallpaper with https://www.photowall.co.uk/canvas-prints may not need HOA approval as they barely affects other homeowners. Other interior renovations that need approval include:
- Flooring, rewiring
- Structural projects like adding or changing rooms, plumbing, removing exterior or interior walls, kitchen renovations
- Exterior changes like landscaping, adding a new roof, front door trim, gutters, and exterior paint
- Replacing the ceiling
Projects that Don’t Need HOA Approval
- Light fixtures like electrical outlets and switches
- Interior trim work
- Bath fixtures like the shower and the sink
- Landscaping a fenced backyard
The HOA may order you to stop the work or redo the project if you don’t seek approval even when you have complied with its rules. As such, it is imperative to seek approval before starting the project to avoid wasting time and resources.
Also, HOA communities require homeowners to hire a licensed professional (with all permits) to perform all such renovations. You may be provided with a list of contractors experienced in working on HOA properties, but if the recommendations are not available, you still need to find the right contractor.
Be sure to discuss the CC&R regulations to avoid pitfalls. Emphasize on sticking to the scheduled work times and inquire where the contractor intends to store the work materials and dispose of debris.
Sanitation haulers prohibit homeowners from disposing of construction materials in the trash receptacle. The HOA also inspects the project after completion to ensure such garbage has been disposed of properly, and the project complies with the community’s rules and standard of quality.
Getting HOA Approval for Renovation
The process varies from one association to another, but the standard procedure involves filling out an application that explains the renovation plan. It would help if you engaged an expert to help you fill out the form as it increases your chances of getting approval.
Provide as much information about the project as the HOA will use it to approve or deny the proposal. Essential information to include:
- The timeline
- The type of work and its effect on common property
- Common areas that will be used during the renovation
- Sometimes the HOA approves the project based on conditions concerning:
- Hours the project should take place
- Types of materials to be used in the project
- Licenses tradespeople and contractors should have
- Separating the work area and the common area
The approval process takes 14-30 days once you submit the proposal. Factors such as the complexity of the project and the need to verify if the contractor is licensed and insured can prolong the approval time.
Once the proposal is approved, you can commence working on the project. Since renovations are noisy and disruptive, it is imperative to work during HOA-approved construction hours (usually 7 am-7 pm, and 9 am-9 pm during the weekends).
Consider alerting your neighbors via email or a letter explaining the length of the project. Be ready to answer questions they may have to prevent conflict and reduce the chances of getting complaints.
Before embarking on a renovation project in an HOA community, check its CC&Rs to find out the specific approvals required. Also, talk to the correct people to determine the renovations do’s and donts in the neighborhood.