In Indiana, many planned communities are managed by a homeowners association (HOA). The laws governing HOAs in Indiana are set forth by various local and state regulations, as well as by each individual HOA’s governing documents.
Who Regulates HOAs in Indiana?
HOAs in Indiana are regulated by the Indiana Homeowners Associations Act found in Title 32 Article 25.5. This act governs a business entity where the use of dwellings is owned and operated by the members of the business entity.
Otherwise, governing documents regulate an HOA. Although every HOA is different, the governing documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, and other rules and regulations.
HOAs in Indiana may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:
HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:
- Indiana Nonprofit Corporations Act
- Indiana Condominiums Act
- Indiana Fair Housing Act
- Indiana Liens on Real Property
- Indiana Conveyance Procedures for Real Property
How to Find HOA Regulations in Indiana
HOA governing documents are public records in Indiana. The governing documents include the Articles of Incorporation and bylaws that are to be filed with the office of the county recorder. To obtain these records, visit the local office of the county recorder and pay a fee for copies.
Additionally, HOA bylaws are considered optional provisions when the Articles of Incorporation is filed with the Indiana Secretary of State. If the HOA chooses to include the bylaws in their business filings, they can be accessed by anyone on the Indiana Secretary of State Business Entity search website.
HOA Powers in Indiana
In Indiana, HOAs have the power to:
- Collect payments for common expenses
- Collect charges to maintain and operate the common areas
- Levy reasonable fines
- Foreclose on 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 Indiana
In Indiana, HOAs can impose fines on a homeowner. 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 political signs during election season
- Installing solar energy systems so long as they do not pose a threat to public health and safety or significantly increase energy costs
- 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
Moreover, an HOA’s governing documents can grant added powers such as restrictions on membership, parking, fencing, and exterior paint colors.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Indiana?
In Indiana, a homeowner 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.
The HOA must first file a complaint with the appropriate court where the residence is located. The complaint cannot be filed within a 90-day period of the unpaid fines. If the lien is enforced by the court, then an action for foreclosure can be initiated.
There is no provision about HOAs being able to evict homeowners or tenants. This information can be found in the HOA’s governing documents.
Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in Indiana?
There is no provision in the Indiana Code that states whether HOAs can enter 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 Indiana?
The venue for filing a Complaint against an HOA in Indiana depends on the complaint.
For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, homeowners may also file in state court, northern federal, or southern federal court within one year of the violation date.
If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Indiana state, northern federal, or southern federal court.
Otherwise, a homeowner with any other complaints can bring a claim in state court in the appropriate county.
Joining and Leaving an HOA in Indiana
In Indiana, there is no state code for joining or leaving an HOA. These processes are set by the HOA’s governing documents. Documents explaining the HOA and its membership rules should be presented at the closing for a new owner’s home purchase.
Typically, there are 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 Indiana
The process for dissolution of an HOA in Indiana may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, the HOA board must propose dissolution and the HOA members must come to a majority vote to authorize dissolution at a meeting.
If the majority of HOA members vote in favor of dissolution, the HOA can dissolve by filing an Articles of Dissolution with the Indiana Secretary of State.
- 1 Ind. Code § 25.5-2-3
- 2 County Recorder Manual Chapter 9 Legal Guide
- 3 Ind. Code § 23-17-4-2
- 4 Ind. Code § 32-28-14-9
- 5 Ind. Code § 32-21-13-4
- 6 Ind. Code § 36-7-2-8
- 7 4 U.S.C. § 5
- 8 Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD Rule)
- 9 Ind. Code § 32-28-14-8
- 10 When You Must Allow an HOA Representative to Enter Your Unit
- 11 Can you refuse to join an HOA?
- 12 Ind. Code § 23-17-22-2
- 13 Ind. Code § 23-17-22-3