Can my HOA Restrict the Usage of its facilities?

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If your public facilities are important to your everyday life, and they have been taken away, it is within your rights as a homeowner to address the situation. Evaluate why such restrictions may have been put in place, as it may all be because of some overdue fees, or simply an accident on the HOA’s part. If you have done nothing wrong, then you have it in your power to do something.

Can my HOA restrict the usage of recreational facilities?

If you are apart of a planned unit development, there is a good chance that you are apart of an HOA. There is also a good chance that your HOA provides recreational facilities, such as a laundry room, swimming pool, workout room, etc. But what if one of these facilities were suddenly unavailable to you? Would it affect your daily routine? Would you know if such restrictions were put into place lawfully? Whether you utilize them everyday, or once a month, it is good for an active HOA member to know how your HOA can restrict your usage of recreational facilities.

How are your facilities being restricted?

Before you identify whether or not your HOA is treating you and your rights to public facilities fairly, determine in what way you are being infringed upon. Have you received a notice that specifically prohibits your usage of a certain facility? Have you been asked in person by a board member, or HOA authority, to stop using a resource? Is there a physical barrier to said facilities, such as a locked door, even when the facility hours say it’s open? Have other people in your HOA been experiencing the same limitations? These distinctions are important, and can dramatically change the situation as you see it, as well as the actions that must be taken.

An example of a crucial distinction is the difference between a written notice and a verbal command from a board member. If you receive a notice that explains that you cannot use the community pool until your monthly HOA fees are paid, you can bet that this notice is an official one. If a board member approaches you as you’re picking up the mail and tells you that you cannot use the community pool anymore, this is most likely an unofficial warning, and a matter of opinion more than fact.

What situations allow for such restrictions?

Since HOA’s have given you access to these public resources, it makes sense that the same power can take away your resources. If you have failed to pay your fees, especially those that go into the upkeep of public resources, your HOA may have the capability to restrict your usage of those resources. This is an example of one of the many contracts that you agreed to obey when you bought your house or condo. That being said, all restrictions within an HOA should be fair and lawful, meaning that the HOA must still obey the governing documents. If the power to restrict public facilities from homeowners is not granted to the HOA in the governing documents, then they are in the wrong for limiting your resources, not you.

What can you do about it?

When you have determined that your HOA is unjustly restricting you from the community resources, then you have a right to change it. Find out from a board member, or the head of a specific facility, why you are being restricted and how you can change it. There is a good chance that you can rectify the situation by paying any overdue fees, or adjusting your routine to follow any previously disobeyed rules regarding these facilities. If your HOA board proves to be uncooperative and will refuse to help you, feel free to call an attorney or other legal enforcer. Your rights are your own, and if you have been a law-abiding homeowner, there is no reason that they should be taken away.

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Source: Neighborhood Link - Sabrina Robinson
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