If you’ve bought a home in Metro Atlanta in the last decade or so, chances are, your house is part of a homeowner’s association (HOA). More than 40 million people across the US live in communities managed by an HOA. Homeowner’s associations are the governing bodies of common-interest communities such as gated neighborhoods, apartment complexes, or condominium buildings. They’re responsible for enforcing the community rules and maintaining the common areas and greenspaces. They may also regulate parking in the area.

Homeowners Association: Regulations and Responsibilities

A Homeowner’s Association is an organization comprised of a board of directors. The board members are responsible for maintaining the HOA budget, addressing any community concerns, and supervising the community’s management and its shared spaces. While every community has different policies and regulations, most homeowner’s covenants, codes, and restrictions (CC&R) include stipulations about: paint colors, decorations, outbuildings, play structures, and pets. The rules are in place to regulate any activities that could affect the neighborhood and its residents’ well-being and safety.

When a new homeowner signs their closing paperwork, they are agreeing to join the HOA and follow the rules established by the HOA board. Some HOA groups also require homeowners to register their vehicle(s), so board members can identify resident and non-resident vehicles. If the homeowner violates the HOA rules at any point, the HOA can take significant measures.

Common HOA Parking Rules and Restrictions

While every HOA has different regulations, most homeowner’s CC&R includes rules about parking. (Considering that there are more than 270 million registered vehicles in the US, it’s easy to see why this is a common rule). The rules generally enforce what types of vehicles can/cannot be parked in the community, where they can be parked, and for how long.

Many HOAs have rules about the type of vehicles that homeowners can park inside the community. It’s common for HOAs to restrict RVs, campers, trailers, boats, and vehicles with commercial signs on them (ex: large work vehicles). HOAs restrict certain vehicles in order to maintain the community’s aesthetic appeal, and in turn, maintain the value of the properties. While an HOA cannot restrict the number of vehicles that a resident may own, it can limit the type and number of vehicles parked in the homeowner’s driveway.

HOAs usually have rules in place about where homeowners and guests are allowed to park. Generally, residents can park their vehicles in their driveway or garage. If a homeowner or their guest has a vehicle that is prohibited within the community, the HOA may request that the vehicle be parked in the garage, out of sight of the rest of the community. In an apartment complex or condo association, there may be designated parking spaces (usually one or two per residence). The HOA requires those homeowners to park in their designated spaces only.

One common question is whether an HOA can restrict parking on the street. The answer is yes – for private streets. A private street is one that’s not for public use and is owned/managed by the community. Streets inside gated communities or private developments are examples of private streets. An HOA can restrict street parking within the community (ex: ask you to park in certain spots, for certain hours of the day) for both residents and non-residents. The organization can also prohibit parking altogether on private streets. If the street is public; however, the HOA does not have any authority to place restrictions on the street parking. For public streets, the state government sets the restrictions and local police enforce the parking rules.

In addition to regulating the types of vehicles and where residents can park, HOAs typically also have rules about when or how long residents can park. An HOA may only allow vehicles in designated parking spots (ex: clubhouse, pool, visitor center) for 12 to 24 hours. Or, the HOA may restrict the hours that a resident or guest can park (ex: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.). These restrictions are in place to discourage abandoned vehicles and to protect the community’s aesthetics. If a homeowner violates the parking rules, the HOA can take action.

Potential Penalties for HOA Violations

While HOAs have different procedures for dealing with violations, the first response is usually sending the homeowner written notice of their violation. If the homeowner does not rectify the problem, they will typically face a fine. Not all HOA boards have the same authority; however, the organization may next try to tow the offending vehicle or revoke the homeowner’s parking privileges altogether. (But this last step is usually reserved for repeat offenders).

Have Additional Questions? Contact Brian M. Douglas & Associates’ Real Estate Team

Before you park your vehicle(s) inside your community, be sure to use your best judgment and check your HOA rules. Your community may have provisions in place as to what, where, and when you can park. If you’re facing a legal dispute related to your homeowner’s association, please contact the experienced real estate attorneys at Brian M. Douglas & Associates. We serve the entire Atlanta area. You can reach us by calling (770) 933-9009 or by visiting our website. We’d be happy to help.