Understanding HOA Violations: Can They Derail Your Home Sale?

Understanding HOA Violations: Can They Derail Your Home Sale?

Are you in the process of selling your home, or are you considering putting it on the market? Homeowners' Association violations (HOA violations) and tax certificates might not be at the top of your mind, but they are both very important. Overlooking these can lead to unexpected complications that may impact your home sale.

If a property is within an HOA’s management, whether you're buying or selling it, the HOA will invariably become an integral part of your journey. While this association's involvement may seem unavoidable, it's essential to recognize that buyers and sellers have distinct roles in HOAs.

Both must follow a set of responsibilities and considerations.

So, what is HOA approval, why it matters, and what is its potential impact on your home sale?

HOAs maintain the aesthetic appeal and harmony of a community. While they offer several advantages, they also bring a set of rules and regulations to the table that homeowners must abide by. Therefore, you must be aware of the HOA meaning and HOA violations.

Let’s get started!

What Is An HOA Violation?

A homeowner’s association violation is a breach of the HOA rules and regulations that govern a specific community or neighborhood. HOAs establish rules to maintain order, preserve property values, and create a harmonious living environment for all residents. 

When a homeowner violates one or more of these rules, the HOA takes action to address the violation. It may involve issuing warnings, fines, or other penalties. It usually depends on the severity and frequency of the violation. In some cases, repeated or serious HOA violations could result in legal action or even a lien placed on the homeowner's property.

If you are wondering, can HOA force you to sell? Yes, it can. Therefore, it's essential for both buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction to be aware of any existing HOA violations associated with the property, as this can impact the sale and ownership of the home.

What Are The Most Common HOA Violations?

HOA violations can vary based on the specific community and the rules outlined in their governing documents. Common HOA violations revolve around property maintenance and the overall appearance of homes within a community.

Here is a list of HOA violations that many overlook (but should not):


HOAs often have rules regarding landscaping and yard maintenance. Such violations usually involve overgrown grass, dead or neglected plants, or unsightly landscaping features.


Violations often occur regarding pet policies, like leash laws, pet waste disposal, or breed restrictions.


Issues related to trash and recycling bins can also lead to violations. Leaving bins out for extended periods, not using proper containers, or not adhering to collection schedules are common types of HOA violations.


Noise complaints from neighbors can also cause HOA violations, especially if quiet hours or noise restrictions are in place.


Depending on the community's rules and regulations, other violations can be architectural changes, parking, and exterior maintenance.

Who Regulates HOAS?

What can HOAs do about violations, and is all of this regulated by any authority that matters? State laws primarily regulate Homeowners Associations, and the specific regulations can vary significantly from one state to another. However, there are some common themes and entities that play a role in regulating HOAs:

  • State Legislation: State laws define the legal framework, establishment, powers, and limitations of HOAs.
  • Governing Documents: HOAs operate based on legal documents that outline rules and regulations.
  • Office of the Ombudsman: Some states have regulatory offices or ombudsmen to oversee HOAs and ensure compliance with state laws.
  • Courts: Homeowners have the right to take HOAs to court if they believe the association violates state laws.

The Best Ways To Avoid HOA Violations

Avoiding violations is crucial for a peaceful living experience within your community. The following key steps will show you how to handle HOA violations:

Understand Governing Documents

Gain a comprehensive understanding of your HOA's documents for closing. Knowledge of these regulations is vital to compliance.

Stay Informed

You must also know how to find out if HOA is active in your community. Continuously stay informed about new rules or regulations through newsletters, emails, or official notices.

Seek Approval for Changes

If you plan any architectural or significant changes to your property, seek prior approval from the HOA to ensure compliance with guidelines and avoid an HOA notice of violation.

Avoid Drastic Changes

HOAs generally discourage drastic alterations that deviate from the aesthetic norms of a community. Consult with your community’s HOA before taking on major projects.

How Does The Seller Determine If They Have Any HOA Violations?

Determining whether you have any violations on record as a seller is a critical step in the home-selling process. Selling a home with HOA violations can lead to many legal issues. But you don’t have to go down that line.

Instead, you can just ask, “what HOA is my house in,” then or follow a couple of steps to see if you have any violations:

Review HOA Violation Notices

Sellers should check their records for any HOA violation letters they received. These notices will detail the violations and the corrective actions required. It's also crucial to know any pending violations and their status.

Understand HOA Warning and Fine Policies

Different HOAs have varying approaches to violations. Some may issue warnings before fines, while others might fine homeowners immediately.

Contact the Property Manager

Sellers should reach out to the HOA's property manager to confirm the status of their property. Property managers can provide information on any outstanding HOA violations the previous owner had or if you have accrued any.

How Does The Buyer Determine If The Seller Has Any HOA Violations?

Buyers interested in purchasing a property within a homeowner’s association (HOA) community should try to determine whether the seller has any HOA violations.

Here's how you can do so:

Review the Seller's Disclosures

In many real estate transactions, sellers must provide disclosure documents. The information must present the property's condition, known issues, and ongoing HOA violations. 

Request the HOA Documents

Buyers can request copies of the HOA's governing documents. These documents often outline the rules and guidelines for the community.

Contact the HOA

Buyers can directly contact the HOA or its management company to inquire about any violations associated with the property. 

What Happens If The Seller Has An HOA Violation?

Both buyers and sellers need to be aware of any HOA violations and address them promptly to ensure a smooth real estate transaction. It becomes the seller's responsibility to address and rectify the violation before proceeding with the property sale. This often involves paying a fine and complying with the HOA documents for closing.

What Happens If The Seller Doesn’t Correct The HOA Violations?

Wondering what happens if you ignore HOA rules? HOA violations can pose challenges in a home sale, and buyers and sellers must be ready for such scenarios. When HOA violations persist until the closing table, several potential courses of action exist. 

Firstly, extending the closing date can provide time for the seller to address the issues, but this might not always be practical. Alternatively, funds can be placed in escrow, with the seller receiving them back upon correction within an agreed timeframe. 

If the violations aren't resolved in time, the funds go to the buyer to rectify the issues. However, for unique situations where neither of these options suffices, exploring alternative solutions may be necessary, as each case varies.

For example, an HOA can deny a buyer.

Or the HOA can put a lien on your house for violations (even if it has a mortgage).

So, it’s best not to risk things…

Can HOA Violations Blow Up A Home Sale?

Closing without HOA approval can disrupt and even jeopardize a home sale. When violations are resolved before closing, they typically don't pose significant problems. However, when they are left uncorrected, it can create issues that may even lead to the cancellation of the closing. 

Get Professional Assistance From CertSimple USA, LLC!

Can an HOA prevent you from buying a home? Yes, an HOA can indeed deny buying or selling. But don’t fret, at CertSimple, we understand the significant impact that Homeowners Association violations can have on real estate transactions. We recognize the challenges that buyers and sellers face in the industry when dealing with these issues.


“Closing without HOA approval” is it possible?

Closing on a home without HOA approval is possible in some cases, but it carries risks and depends on HOA rules, lender requirements, and contractual agreements. It is better to be safe than sorry concerning HOA violations – working with real estate professionals is your best bet.

Can an HOA prevent you from buying a home?

Yes, the Homeowners Association can prevent you from buying a home. Common scenarios include unresolved violations and restrictive HOA rules impacting your use of the property. Don’t take rejections personally – it’s for your own good in this case, it’s best to invest in a safe property.

Are there unenforceable HOA rules?

Unenforceable rules regarding HOA violations conflict with local laws. It makes them legally invalid. They cannot supersede legal requirements or the original governing documents. Of course, this does not mean you can ignore them – the safer, the better.

How do I know if I received a violation?

To check if you've received a HOA notice of violation, review your mail and email for notices from the HOA. You can check your community's bulletin board or website for posted violations. If you’re unsure, it’s best to involve real estate experts.