Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) are a crucial part of keeping a neighborhood looking the best it can. The rules that they enact help preserve the value of the homes that are a part of it. Each HOA differs in the way that they run, and some work better than others. For new associations, it can be challenging to decide on the first rules to enact.

What makes a sound rule?

Before suggesting what should be regulated, it’s vital to consider what makes a rule worth adding in the first place. They should meet two primary criteria: they are enforceable and ‘good.’ That means any new ordinances should be reasonable to members, making them easy to enforce for the good of the neighborhood, and follow common-sense logic. If members resent the rules that the HOA puts in place, it will cause problems down the line.

What to regulate

  • Pets: Dogs and cats can be excellent furry companions, but they can also become public nuisances if not sufficiently cared for. Make sure that everyone in the neighborhood knows they are responsible for pet droppings and proper leashing. If a pet is regularly playing in the yard, adequate fencing will also be essential to mandate.
  • Landscaping: Part of the reason HOAs exist is to ensure that a neighborhood looks good. How households manage their gardens and lawns is a big part of this. Make sure that how often homeowners need to mow is codified in the bylaws. You may also want to require large landscaping projects to need prior approval, as well.
  • Personal property: Homes have garages and sheds for a reason—to store things. If the homes in a neighborhood have miscellaneous belongings strewn about, things are going to look messy. Put expectations into your HOA rules so that homeowners know that they can’t leave their possessions around.
  • Construction: Unsightly construction projects can quickly ruin the look of a neighborhood. That’s why rules which cover how homeowners can propose projects and who gets to approve them are crucial. Some can genuinely be a benefit, but others not so much.

While creating rules that govern your neighborhood, keep enforceability and common sense in mind. The more logical and agreeable the rules are, the easier time your HOA will have managing the community.