Purpose of an HOA
Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are typically formed to enhance the value of their communities by providing budget guidance for maintenance or repair of common space and other amenities, and organization of resident participation in neighborhood programs and events, and to enforce covenants drawn up by the developer. They often hold monthly board meetings to discuss issues and initiatives specific to the community. Committees are usually formed to review changes to architecture, plan events, and distribute information.
What laws do they follow?
All homeowners within Town limits are subject to the Morrisville Code of Ordinances, which outlines rules for noise, abandoned vehicles, parking, business licenses, etc.
HOAs are subject to the Town’s ordinances, as well federal and state laws. Beyond that, HOAs are required to publicly record CCRs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) which may include maintenance standards that require a higher standard of upkeep than the Town’s Code.
For example, covenants may require front yard landscaping for individual properties to have certain species or a certain number of plants while the Town just requires that the grass on any property does not reach a certain height.
Many covenants are very simple and are meant only to protect a neighborhood from homeowners destroying trees or historic things or otherwise directly harming property values. Some can be more specific and strict, outlining acceptable colors to re-paint the home, exactly when holiday decorations are allowed up, automobile placement or repair on property, satellite placement, etc.
When does the Town get involved?
Occasionally, a resident will approach the Town staff or elected officials regarding an issue they have with their HOA’s covenants. More often than not, the Town has no authority to override the HOA’s decision. This is because North Carolina cities and towns gain their authority by General Statutes made by the Legislature. In Chapter 160A (relating to Cities and Towns) there is no authority for the Town to regulate homeowner associations.
The Town would, however, respond to complaints from residents that observe a violation of our code of ordinances. We do not have the legal authority to directly enforce convenants in a neighborhood, but we can act if it has been determined that a direct violation has been made to the Town Code.
Disputes between homeowners
Another area in which the Town is not authorized to act is in private disputes between homeowners. For example, your neighbor may build a fence that you believe crosses over your property line. The Town would not be able to intervene in this matter, even if you had a survey that showed that the fence was built over the property line. It is up to the homeowners to resolve the dispute.
Keep in touch
The Town strongly encourages existing HOAs to maintain contact information with us. Providing updated contact information with the Town establishes a communication link that we can utilize to distribute and gather information. Submit your HOA’s information and keep in touch!