In Arkansas, many planned communities are managed by a homeowners association (HOA). The laws governing HOAs in Arkansas are set forth by various local and state regulations, as well as by each individual HOA’s governing documents.
Who Regulates HOAs in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, HOAs are regulated by the Arkansas Horizontal Property Act found in Title 18 Chapter 13 of the Arkansas Code. This act applies to all planned communities for residential, commercial, or industrial use.
Otherwise, governing documents regulate HOAs. Although every HOA is different, the governing documents typically include Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restriction, and other rules and regulations.
HOAs in Arkansas may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:
HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:
How to Find HOA Regulations in Arkansas
HOA governing documents are public records in Arkansas. An HOA must record its governing documents with the county land records to be enforceable. To obtain these documents, visit the local county clerk’s office.
In some instances, these records can be obtained online using the Arkansas Business Search on the Arkansas Secretary of State website. On this site, homeowners may be able to access limited information about the HOA.
HOA Powers in Arkansas
In Arkansas, the HOA has the power to:
- Collect payments for common expenses
- Regulate common areas
- Collect charges to maintain and operate the common areas
- Levy reasonable fines
- Foreclose on a house for unpaid liens
Additionally, HOA governing documents can grant further powers such as restrictions on membership, exterior paint colors, fencing, and parking requirements.
Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, an HOA may impose fines on a homeowner for violating its rules. Although there are no laws regulating these fees, they generally range from as little as $20 to over $500, depending on the severity and length of the violation.
The HOA’s governing documents will likely note the amount and types of fees in the HOA as well as notice requirements for such fees.
An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:
- Displaying the American flag so long as the flag is displayed in a manner consistent with federal flag display law
- Installing satellite dishes and antennas
- Installing solar energy panels
An HOA’s governing documents may include reasonable rules and regulations regarding the placement and manner of display of the American flag, satellite dishes and antennas, and solar panels.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Arkansas?
An HOA in Arkansas can foreclose on a home within its community. HOAs have the power to place a lien on a property when the owner neglects to pay their dues. If a lien goes unresolved, the HOA can foreclose on the house.
There are two ways an HOA can foreclose on a home:
- Judicial Foreclosure. The HOA files a lawsuit against the homeowner to obtain a court order granting permission to sell the home and settle the HOA lien.
- Nonjudicial Foreclosure. The HOA would not go through state court but simply follow specific procedures listed in their governing documents.
An HOA cannot evict a homeowner. If an HOA directly leases a residence to a tenant, they may be able to evict the tenant. Depending on how the governing documents are drafted, the HOA may also evict a tenant if the lease was not properly authorized by the HOA. Otherwise, the HOA may have other powers or restrictions about rental properties in its governing documents.
Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, there is no provision in the law that allows an HOA to enter a homeowner’s property. However, most governing documents contain a provision allowing an HOA to enter one’s home as reasonably necessary to maintain limited common elements or shared utilities.
Limited common elements are the spaces in and around the house that are collectively owned by the HOA, such as balconies. Shared utilities may include water or sewage that are provided directly through the HOA.
Except in the case of an emergency, the HOA must generally give prior notice before entering the property. Typically, an HOA will give 1-2 weeks’ notice, but notice requirements are determined by the governing documents.
Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Arkansas?
The venue for filing a complaint against an HOA in Arkansas depends on the complaint.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Pract7ices Act, homeowners may also file in state or federal court within one year of the violation date. The federal court of Arkansas is separated into the Eastern District and Western District. Which district to file in is determined by the location of the property.
If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission, US Department of Urban Housing and Development, or file a private suit in state or federal court.
For any other complaints, a homeowner can bring a claim in state court in the appropriate county.
Joining and Leaving an HOA in Arkansas
In Arkansas, there are two types of HOAs that govern joining and leaving clauses. Documents explaining the HOA and its membership rules should be presented at the closing for a new owner’s home purchase.
- 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 HOA to have their home removed. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.
How to Dissolve an HOA in Arkansas
The process for dissolution of an HOA in Arkansas may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, the board members of the HOA must propose dissolution to the members of the HOA.
For a proposal to dissolve to be adopted, one of the following must occur:
- The board of directors must approve the authorization of the dissolution
- The majority of the members who are entitled to vote must approve the dissolution
- Each person whose approval is required by the governing documents for dissolution must approve the plan in writing
The HOA must notify each homeowner of the dissolution meeting. The notice must also state the purpose of the meeting is to consider the dissolution of the corporation and provide a summary of the plan of dissolution.
If approved, the board or majority of the HOA members will settle any debts, dispose of assets belonging to the HOA, and file the necessary documentation. The HOA will be considered fully dissolved once the Articles of Dissolution are filed with the Arkansas Secretary of State.