Homeowners associations (HOAs) manage many planned communities in Alabama. Various local, state, and federal regulations as well as governing documents oversee HOAs in Alabama.
Who Regulates HOAs in Alabama?
In Alabama, HOAs are regulated by theAlabama Homeowners’ Association Actfound in Title 35 Chapter 20 of the Alabama Code. This act governs all HOAs that are real estate cooperatives, time-share developments, or campgrounds.
An HOA is also regulated by its own governing documents. The governing documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, and other rules and regulations. However, all HOAs are different in what documents they may or may not include.
HOAs in Alabama may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:
The governing documents of an HOA are public records in Alabama. HOAs are required to file Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and other governing documents with the Alabama Secretary of State.
To obtain these documents, anyone can conduct aBusiness Entitysearch on the Alabama Secretary of State website. Copies of an HOA’s filings can be purchased for a fee.
HOA Powers in Alabama
In Alabama, HOAs have the power to:
Regulate common areas
Collect charges to maintain common areas
Levy reasonable fines
Moreover, an HOA’s governing documents can grant added powers such as restrictions on membership, parking, fencing, and exterior paint colors.
Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Alabama?
In Alabama, HOAscanimpose fines on homeowners for the repair of common areas or violation of any rules. The homeowner must have an opportunity to be heard before the board. The HOA’s governing documents will include the type of fine, amount, and notice requirements for homeowners.
An HOAcannotfine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) displaying the American flag consistent with federal lawor installing satellite dishes and antennas.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Alabama?
In Alabama, an HOAcantake a homeowner’s house for unpaid assessments. The HOA can place a lien on the property which can result in foreclosure on the home.
A notice must be provided to the homeowner listing any unpaid assessments 30 days before a lien can be claimed with the local county court. An HOA can bring an action into court to enforce the lien which can result in the sale of the property to pay off the unpaid assessments.
An HOAcannotevict a homeowner. However, if the homeowner is leasing a tenant, the HOA may be able to evict the tenant. For example, an HOA may be able to evict a tenant if the lease was not properly authorized by the HOA. In addition, the HOA may have other powers or restrictions regarding rental properties in its governing documents.
Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in Alabama?
In Alabama,nostate provision governs HOAs entering a homeowner’s property. Clauses of if, when, and how an HOA can enter a homeowner’s house will be listed in its governing documents.
Typically, an HOA may be able to enter a homeowner’s property in case of emergency, maintenance, or violation of any rules or regulations.
Except in the case of an emergency, reasonable notice should be provided to the homeowner before the HOA is to enter the property. A reasonable timeline can range depending on the reason for entry between three days and a couple of weeks.
Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Alabama?
The appropriate agency to file a complaint against an HOA depends on the type of complaint.
A homeowner can bring all other complaints tostatecourt in the appropriate jurisdiction by filing a claim.
Joining and Leaving an HOA in Alabama
Joining and leaving clauses are governed by the HOA’s governing documents in Alabama.Documents explaining the HOA and its membership rules should be presented at the closing for a new owner’s home purchase.
Typically, two types of HOAs that regulate joining and leaving clauses:
Mandatory HOAs.When a person buys a home, they automatically become a member required to abide by any HOA rules listed in the governing documents. This usually includes that a homeowner is not able to leave the HOA freely.
Voluntary HOAs.When a person buys a home, membership is a choice for each homeowner. If they choose to become a member, they may leave at any time by stopping their payments with the HOA.
To leave a mandatory HOA, a homeowner can sell their house or try to petition the court to have their home removed. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.
How to Dissolve an HOA in Alabama
The dissolution process of an HOA in Alabama may be found in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, a vote of at least ⅔ by HOA members is needed to adopt dissolution.
If dissolution is adopted by HOA members, an HOA board must produce a statement of intent to dissolve and gain the signatures of all voting HOA members. The statement of intent to dissolve needs to be filed with the Alabama Secretary of State. Upon filing, an HOA should distribute all of its assets and debts to cease its operations.
Once all assets and debts have been distributed, an HOA must file an Articles of Dissolution with the Alabama Secretary of State. Upon filing, an HOA is considered fully dissolved.
… a homeowners’ association shall file the following documents with the Secretary of State: a. Articles of incorporation. b. Bylaws, resolutions, or other governing documents of the association. c. The original covenants, conditions, or restrictions adopted by the association. (3) The Secretary of State shall implement and maintain an electronic database, organized by association name, accessible by the public through the Secretary of State’s website which provides the capability to search and retrieve the documents listed in subdivision (2). Any documents filed with the Secretary of State shall be filed in accordance with Division 4 of Article 3 of Chapter 4, provided such documents filed with the Secretary of State pursuant to this chapter shall not be deemed to provide notice pursuant to Chapter 4. (4) The Secretary of State may adopt rules necessary for the implementation of this section, including reasonable fees for the filing of documents.
(c) The organizational documents of a homeowners’ association shall provide for all of the following… (4) Reasonable rules and regulations for the use, maintenance, repair, replacement, or modification of any common areas, if any, including penalties for violations… (8) Any other act a nonprofit corporation is required to do under law.
(a) The board of directors, to the extent authorized by the declaration and governing documents, may do the following… (2) Assess reasonable penalties against a member for any violation of the declaration or rules adopted by the board of directors after the member is afforded the opportunity to be heard and represented by counsel before the board of directors.
(a) Notwithstanding any covenant, contract, or restriction to the contrary, a person may exhibit or display on his or her property a current flag of the United States not to exceed 40 square feet in size. (b) Any covenant, contract, or restriction that prohibits a person from flying the flag of the United States on his or her property in accordance with subsection (a), whether adopted before or after May 21, 2009, is void as a violation of public policy.
Enforceable placement preferences must be clearly articulated in writing and made available to all residents of the community in question. A requirement that an antenna be located where reception or transmission would be impossible or substantially degraded is prohibited by the rule… A valid enforceable placement preference should not contain prohibited provisions such as prior approval or require professional installation… when an antenna is professionally installed, the installer often determines the location of the antenna at the time of installation based upon the type of antenna installed and the ability of the antenna to receive an acceptable quality signal.
The lien may be enforced or foreclosed as provided in the declaration or governing documents or as provided in this section. Written notice of the assessment and lien shall be given to the owner of any lot on which the assessment and lien is claimed by personal delivery or first class United States mail, postage prepaid… (d) At least 30 days prior to recording a statement of lien, the association shall give written notice by certified mail to the owner of the lot or other person obligated for the lien…. (e) An association may bring an action in a court having jurisdiction to enforce a lien declared in this section… (f) The court in which the action is pending may enforce the lien by a sale of the property after the giving of notice. Notice of a sale shall be given in the county where the lot is located.
…an HOA representative can enter an owner’s unit in emergency situations, or for health and safety reasons… Many HOAs also have the right to enter an owner’s unit to maintain common elements… An HOA might also have the right to enter an owner’s unit to inspect for a violation of the development’s rules or regulations. Normally this is allowed only if the HOA has good reason to believe a violation is occurring… State statutes commonly require that HOAs provide an owner with “reasonable” notice. What’s considered “reasonable” depends on the situation. For example, prior notice of between three days and a week might be reasonable for an HOA wishing to enter an owner’s unit to perform periodic common area maintenance… if immediate entrance is necessary for health or safety reasons (such as if there is a fire in the unit), minimal or no notice is probably acceptable.
Yes in some and no in others. Each HOA is different.
How much authority do HOAs have and what can they require and enforce in Alabama?
Each HOA is different and they have their own governing documents, fees, assessments, rules, lien authority and other penalties. Some HOAs are more or less restrictive. Consumers should ask for the information they need.
… membership in voluntary HOAs is optional… If you enter into a voluntary HOA, you can leave whenever you want by stopping your payments, although you’ll stop receiving the benefits of the HOA… When you buy a house in a community governed by a mandatory HOA, you automatically become a dues-owing HOA member. When you become a member, you stay a member for as long as you own the property or until the HOA is dissolved (which is very rare). At your home’s closing, you will have to sign documents agreeing to abide by the HOAs rules and pay any assessments, fees, or fines associated with the HOA or incurred by violating HOA rules…. Unless you can gain enough support in your community to let you leave the HOA voluntarily, you will have to hire an attorney to try to convince a judge that you should be allowed to leave.
(4) If there are members entitled to vote thereon, (i) a statement setting forth the date of the meeting of members at which the resolution to dissolve was adopted, that a quorum was present at the meeting, and that the resolution received at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast by members present or represented by proxy at the meeting… (c) The statement of intent to dissolve shall be delivered to the Secretary of State for filing. (d) Upon the filing of a statement of intent to dissolve, the nonprofit corporation shall cease to conduct its affairs except insofar as may be necessary for the winding up thereof, and shall proceed to collect its assets and apply and distribute them as provided in this chapter.
… all of the remaining property and assets of the nonprofit corporation shall have been transferred, conveyed, or distributed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, articles of dissolution shall be executed for the nonprofit corporation by its president or a vice president, and by its secretary or an assistant secretary, and verified by one of the officers signing the articles…
(a) The articles of dissolution shall be delivered to the Secretary of State for filing. (b) Upon the filing of the articles of dissolution, the existence of the nonprofit corporation shall cease, except for the purpose of suits, other proceedings, and appropriate corporate action by members, directors, and officers as provided in this chapter or otherwise in this title.