These Basic HOA Rules Might Drive You Crazy

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are a dream or a nightmare, depending on how you feel about them and what yours controls. Before you sign a contract with your HOA, it’s important to read all the fine print, because you may be surprised to learn what you agreed to.

Basic HOA rules that might drive you crazy

Not all HOA rules are bad. Most of them are there to make sure the neighborhood stays nice. Because it's a lot easier to say no upfront then try to explain to the sweet lady down the street how many lawn gnomes are too many lawn gnomes. But when the rules start to affect you, it can make you a little crazy. Before you buy a home with an HOA check to see what rules they'll want you to follow. 

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Political signs

You've got a favorite candidate for the next election--school board, Senate, gubernatorial, or even presidential. And you might want to start putting signs in the yard, letting your neighbors know how you feel about politics. 

But in a neighborhood with an HOA, you may not be able to put as many signs in your yard as you’d like, or for as long as you’d like. They might be forbidden entirely.

Lemonade stands

Yes, even kids can be subject to the rules of the HOA. So if this was your plan to teach give them an entrepreneurial spirit, think again. Bonus: You won't have to go buy the lemonade, help them set up the whole thing, clean up the kitchen after they're finished preparing, and clean up the whole mess when they get bored and wander off.


You may not be allowed to air your dirty laundry or even your clean laundry. Many HOAs restrict clotheslines, even in the backyard.

Christmas lights

Not Christian? Too bad. Decorate anyway. Some HOAs require that homeowners decorate or even participate in an elaborate color scheme, with your house number determining the color of the lights you must display

Open blinds

Some HOAs require that blinds be closed during certain hours, so neighbors won’t have to view your unsavory activities, like laundry hanging in the living room, or garish holiday lighting. This rule was probably created by the busybody down the street who spends far too much time imagining the unsavory activities of his neighbors. Party on. Just do it behind closed blinds.

The number, type, or weight of pets you may have in your home or yard

You probably know that certain cities have breed bans on types of dogs that they think might be dangerous. But the same can actually be applied to your neighborhood. Your HOA might limit the number of cats you can have, how big your dog can be, or what breeds you can have. 

So what do you think? Will these HOA rules drive you crazy or will they make your neighborhood a nicer place to live?