In New Hampshire, many planned communities are managed by a homeowners association (HOA). The laws governing HOAs in New Hampshire are set forth by various local and federal regulations, as well as by each individual HOA’s governing documents.
Who Regulates HOAs in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, HOAs are not regulated by any specific regulations. Usually, HOAs are organized as voluntary corporations, which are regulated by Chapter 292 of the New Hampshire Statutes. This act governs all corporations and nonprofit corporations.
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 New Hampshire may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:
HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:
- New Hampshire Unit Ownership of Real Property Act
- New Hampshire Condominium Act
- New Hampshire Voluntary Corporations and Associations Act
- New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination
How to Find HOA Regulations in New Hampshire
Individuals in New Hampshire will be able to find HOA documents and regulations through the New Hampshire Department of State. The public will be able to search for corporation information and corporation documents, such as the association’s articles of incorporation.
To locate relevant HOA information, enter the legal name of the subdivision or community.
HOA Powers in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, HOAs that oversee condos have the power to:
- Regulate common areas
- Collect charges for the maintenance of common areas
- Collect payments for common assessments
- Levy reasonable fines
- Foreclose on a home for unpaid liens
HOA powers are outlined in its governing documents. 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 New Hampshire?
There is no state provision in New Hampshire mentioning an HOA imposing fines on a homeowner. Types of fines, amounts, and notice requirements can be found in the HOA’s governing documents.
Certain HOA property types, such as condos, can impose fines for the maintenance of common elements, assessments, and violations of the HOA rules. Before a fine can be imposed, homeowners must be provided a notice and an opportunity to be heard.
An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) displaying the American flag consistent with federal law and installing satellite dishes and antennas.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in New Hampshire?
There is no state statute governing whether an HOA can take a homeowner’s house in New Hampshire. If, when, and how an HOA would take a homeowner’s house is listed in the HOA’s governing documents.
In most places, HOAs have the power to impose fine assessments for the repair of common areas and other items. If a homeowner falls behind on payment, the HOA can take legal action by getting a lien on the property. If a lien has been imposed, the HOA may foreclose.
There is also no provision regarding an HOA’s power to evict a homeowner or tenant. However, 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 be able to 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 New Hampshire?
The laws of the state of New Hampshire do not speak on if an HOA can enter a homeowner’s property. Clauses of 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 New Hampshire?
The venue for filing a Complaint against an HOA in New Hampshire depends on the complaint.
For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the New Hampshire 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 or 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 New Hampshire Commission on Human Rights, New Hampshire Housing Division, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in New Hampshire state or federal 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 New Hampshire
New Hampshire state law does not address joining or leaving an HOA. These processes can be found in 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 New Hampshire
The process for dissolution of an HOA in New Hampshire may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, members of the HOA must vote at least ⅔ in favor of dissolution at an HOA meeting.
If dissolution is approved, the HOA has to handle and dissolve all of its assets and debts. A plan of dissolution must then be adopted by at least ⅔ of HOA members on how to dissolve all of its assets.
If an HOA is organized as a corporation, it can be dissolved by filing Articles of Dissolution with the New Hampshire Department of State and requesting a Certificate of Dissolution from the Department of Revenue Administration.