In Louisiana, certain planned communities are governed by a homeowners association (HOA). Their powers and responsibilities vary based on the property type and governing documents.
Who Regulates HOAs in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, HOAs are regulated by the Louisiana Homeowners Association Act found in Title 9 Section 1141 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. This act governs residential planned communities where the declarations have been filed and governing documents also hold authority.
HOAs traditionally have documents that regulate themselves. Every HOA is different, however, the governing documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restriction, and other rules.
HOAs in Louisiana 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 Louisiana
HOA governing documents are public records in Louisiana. These documents can be obtained directly from the HOA.
HOAs are required to file certain documents with the Louisiana Secretary of State to be considered valid and active. These documents can be obtained by written request via mail or online through the Commercial Database.
HOA Powers in Louisiana
In Louisiana, HOAs have the power to:
- Regulate common areas
- Collect charges for the maintenance of common areas
- Collect payments for common assessments
- Levy reasonable fines
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 Louisiana?
In Louisiana, HOAs can impose fines on a homeowner for unpaid assessments or maintenance of common areas. The HOA’s governing documents will also likely note the amount for such fees.
For fines that are past due, the HOA must deliver a written notice to the owner containing the amount owed. The homeowner will have 30 days to make a payment. If no payment is made, the HOA can take legal action by filing a sworn statement with the court to obtain the unpaid expenses.
An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:
- Installing solar panels
- Installing satellite dishes and antennas
- Displaying the American flag as long as it is consistent with federal flag display law
Reasonable rules and regulations about the placement, manner, and display of the American flag, solar panels, and satellite dishes and antennas may be included in the HOAs governing documents.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, an HOA can take a homeowner’s house. HOAs have the power to place a lien on a property when the owner neglects to pay their dues. Once a lien has been imposed on a property, it can foreclose.
An HOA cannot evict a homeowner. If an HOA directly leases a residence to a tenant, they 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 Louisiana?
There is no state provision in Louisiana that 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 Louisiana?
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 Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Louisiana state or federal court.
For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint directly with their HOA, 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 Louisiana
In Louisiana, there is no state statute on joining or leaving an HOA. These clauses are determined 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.
Usually, there are two types of HOAs that govern 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 Louisiana
The process for dissolution of an HOA in Louisiana may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, dissolution must be authorized by a vote of ⅔ or more from HOA members at a meeting.
If authorized, a notice of authorization of the dissolution needs to be published in at least one newspaper where the HOA property is located. A copy of the notice and an affidavit from the newspaper publisher then needs to be filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Once all fees and charges have been paid from the HOA, a certificate of dissolution also needs to be filed with the Secretary of State and the office of the recorder of mortgages in the parish where the property is located. The HOA is considered dissolved once the proper documents have been filed with the appropriate agencies.
- 1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3198
- 2 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:1141.5
- 3 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:1145
- 4 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:1255
- 5 Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD Rule)
- 6 4 U.S.C. § 5
- 7 Louisiana HOA and COA Foreclosures
- 8 When You Must Allow an HOA Representative to Enter Your Unit
- 9 Can you refuse to join an HOA?
- 10 La. Rev. Stat. § 12:250
- 11 La. Rev. Stat. 12:256