The laws an HOA puts into its bylaws are designed to assist the community it serves. After all, that is the purpose of an HOA—to provide common ground between residents and set standards for the upkeep of the properties and community. Sometimes, though, HOA laws don’t make a ton of sense.
As experts in Arizona HOA law, we’ve seen the full gamut of rules HOA boards attempt to enforce. Here are a few that appear a bit silly, outrageous or downright laughable:
- “No outdoor clotheslines… or indoor clotheslines with doors open”: One HOA in Oregon attempted—and succeeded at—restricting a homeowner’s ability to line-dry her freshly cleaned clothes. The homeowner simply wanted to use a clothesline to cut down on energy use from her electric dryer, but the HOA fined her repeatedly after neighbors complained because it was an eyesore. The homeowner then attempted to hang the line inside her garage, but was forced to remove it or keep the door closed at all times, completely defeating the purpose. So much for trying to save the environment!
- “Swimwear is optional between the pool hours of 11PM and 2AM”: This law attempts to give more freedom to the guests of the community’s pool, but may actually result in some complaints from the guests themselves.
- “All tenants must be ‘on-the-verge artists’ and have their craft approved by the board prior to moving into the community”: The community in question appears to try to limit its residents to “struggling artists,” but then who do they expect to pay the bills? Let’s also remember that art is subjective. We question how well this bylaw would hold up in court.
- “All animals must be carried at all times in the common area”: Not everyone has a teacup chihuahua or tiny pup they can tote around in their purse. This bylaw can cause a lot of problems for residents, particularly those with physical disabilities and limitations or who have service animals. One HOA-regulated condo resident was fined $25 every time she walked her dog in and out of the lobby, despite having a spinal injury that prohibited her from physically carrying the dog!
- “No lemonade stands”: On a hot summer day, most people love the sight of children selling homemade lemonade to passersby. But not in this community! One HOA has banned lemonade stands—we guess those kids will need to make money some other way.
- “Shoes and socks must be removed from one’s feet before entering the clubhouse”: We understand the need to keep clubhouses and common areas clean, and shoes can track dirt and debris. But socks? This HOA must not be worried about athlete’s foot—or the smell.
In most circumstances, HOAs will insist on their bylaws because they claim homeowners agreed to them before they decided to move into the community. However, it’s clear that some of these laws could be considered unreasonable in court.
Navigating HOA law in Arizona can be difficult. That’s why Goodman Holmgren is here to assist HOAs with our HOA law resource center and legal counsel. We offer customized legal solutions for HOAs regarding collections, compliance enforcement and general counsel. Call us today to learn more!