Homeowners associations (HOAs) manage many planned communities in Connecticut. Various local, state, and federal regulations as well as governing documents oversee HOAs in Connecticut.
Who Regulates HOAs in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, HOAs are regulated by the Connecticut Common Interest Ownership Act found in Chapter 828 Section 47 of the Connecticut Statutes. This act governs owners of units in a community that contributes to common element expenses.
HOAs are also regulated by their 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 Connecticut may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:
HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:
- Connecticut Condominium Act
- Connecticut Nonstock Corporations Act
- Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Law
How to Find HOA Regulations in Connecticut
Certain HOA documents are public records when the HOA records its business as a proper entity. HOAs must record a certificate with supporting documents to the land records office where the property is located. To obtain these records, visit the local land records office.
HOAs that are incorporated are required to file articles of incorporation and other annual reports with the Connecticut Secretary of State. These records can be accessed by anyone on the Business Search website or in writing directly with the agency.
HOA Powers in Connecticut
In Connecticut, HOAs have the power to:
- Regulate common areas
- Collect charges for common elements
- Collect payments for common assessments
- Levy reasonable fines
- Foreclose on a home for unpaid liens
Also, HOA governing documents can grant more powers such as restrictions on exterior paint colors, fencing, membership, and parking requirements.
Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, HOAs can impose fines on a homeowner for common elements, late fees for unpaid assessments, and violation of any HOA rules or regulations. The notice, amount, and type of fine will be determined in the HOA’s governing documents.
An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:
- Attaching religious items to the entry door or entry door frame
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations
- Installing satellite dishes and antennas
- Displaying the American flag so long as it is consistent with federal flag law
An HOA’s governing documents may include reasonable regulations and rules about the placement, manner, and display of any of the items listed above.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, HOAs can take a homeowner’s house by foreclosure from unpaid liens. The HOA cannot take action on a lien unless the amount is equal to at least two months’ worth of assessments.
When bringing an action to foreclose, the HOA has to give at least 60 days’ notice to the homeowner. The notice must include the total amount of unpaid assessments, an intent to foreclose, the association’s contact information, and ways to pay the fines.
An HOA can evict a homeowner for unpaid assessments and foreclose on the home. An HOA can also evict tenants during the process of a property being recorded as an association. Additionally, 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 Connecticut?
In Connecticut, HOAs can enter the homeowner’s house as reasonably necessary to maintain common elements or shared utilities. Common elements are the shared spaces around the units owned by the HOA, such as landscaped areas. Shared utilities may include A/C, heat, or electrical systems.
Before entering a property, except in the case of an emergency, an HOA should give prior notice to the homeowner. 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 Connecticut?
The appropriate agency to file a complaint against an HOA depends on the type of complaint.
If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Connecticut state or federal court.
For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, homeowners may also file in state or federal court within one year of the violation date.
A homeowner can bring all other complaints to state court in the appropriate jurisdiction by filing a claim.
Joining and Leaving an HOA in Connecticut
In Connecticut, if a person purchases a home in a neighborhood with a preexisting HOA, they are required to join and abide by the HOA rules. This can include paying mandatory fees and restrictions. At closing, the homeowner’s realtor should present them with documents explaining the HOA and its rules.
A person cannot leave or opt-out of an HOA when one oversees their property. To depart from an HOA, the homeowner can sell their house or petition the HOA to have their home removed from the association. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.
How to Dissolve an HOA in Connecticut
The governing documents may contain the process for dissolution of an HOA. If it is not, a vote by at least 80% of HOA members must agree to terminate the HOA.
If members vote in favor of termination, the HOA must draft a termination agreement that is to be recorded in every county where the property is located. The HOA is considered fully dissolved once the termination agreement has been recorded.
- 1 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-204
- 2 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-244
- 3 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-258
- 4 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-230a
- 5 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-261g
- 6 Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD Rule)
- 7 4 U.S.C. § 5
- 8 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-258
- 9 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-290
- 10 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-249
- 11 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-202
- 12 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47-237