People who own a home or a condo may, at some point, want to make changes to update or improve their home or property. But, if their property is part of a homeowner’s association (HOA), some improvements and changes fall under the rules of the HOA.
Those rules, called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), spell out what can and cannot be done to the property. The rules apply to owners, and renters, where allowed.
Home Improvement Projects That Need HOA Approval
For properties within a HOA, CC&Rs generally require approval from the HOA for visible changes like exterior paint colors, the color and type of roofing materials, the type of landscaping allowed, front doors and front door trim, change of a garage door, rain gutters, and windows.
If the home or condo has shared walls or ceilings/floors, the HOA rules governing any improvements can extend to the inside of the property to include flooring, electrical wiring, adding or changing walls and rooms, modifying plumbing, and making kitchen renovations.
Minor changes such as changing light fixtures, repainting the inside of a home, doing new trim work, or changing bath fixtures are typically not restricted.
Getting Approval for Home Improvement Projects
Getting approval for home improvement projects typically starts by completing an application that describes the projects you propose to undertake. The application will most likely require the type of work anticipated and any impacts on common areas within the HOA.
It could include specifics including the types of materials to be used and colors desired, where the work will be performed (especially if any common areas are impacted,) hours the work will be done, and the project timeline.
For renovations that are allowed, HOA communities typically require homeowners to hire a licensed professional, one that has all the appropriate licenses. An approved contractor list may even be provided.
Before beginning work, it is wise to alert your neighbors to the type of work to be done along with your timeline and invite any of their questions.
Replacing Your Windows in Your Condo?
Window replacement can be desirable to update the look of a property or to receive the benefits of improved energy efficiency.
HOA concerns may include whether the window will match the size and décor of other windows in the condo, whether the contractor will do any new construction or simply retrofit window replacements, who will cover any building or property caused during the work, and whether the contractor will follow appropriate safety procedures during the work.
Be sure to choose an expert contractor; one that is approved for window replacement by the HOA.
Dealing with HOA Challenges
For any home improvement project, from changing the roofing to updating the windows, it is important to not commence work until the project has full approval from the HOA. If approval is somehow denied, write a request for a variance, or seek some compromise solution. The right contractor can help with the approval process.
In every case, when desiring to make property improvements within an HOA, carefully review the CC&Rs, and then speak with a HOA representative first. Always use an approved expert contractor, and then follow the rules to avoid difficulty.