New York HOA Laws

New York HOA Laws

Last Updated: June 15, 2023 by Corrin Swintosky

In New York, many planned communities are managed by a homeowners association (HOA). The laws governing HOAs are set forth by various local and federal regulations, as well as by each individual HOA’s governing documents.

Who Regulates HOAs in New York?

There is no statutory provision that regulates HOAs on the state level in New York. The regulation of HOAs may be on a local level, federal level, or in the HOA’s governing documents. The governing documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, and other rules and regulations.

HOAs in New York 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 New York

HOA governing documents are not public records in the state of New York. However, any HOA document filed with the New York Secretary of State can be requested online or in writing. Business certificates can be found at the local county clerk’s office where the HOA property is located.

Additionally, the New York Secretary of State website lists general HOA information such as business name, address, initial filing date, and name of chief executive officer.

Furthermore, HOA building and conversion plans filed with the Department of Law can be searched on the Real Estate Finance Bureau website.

HOA Powers in New York

In New York, an HOA that is considered a corporation has the power to:

  • Collect assessments for common expenses
  • Impose charges for late payments of assessments
  • Regulate common areas
  • Collect charges to maintain and operate the common areas
  • Levy reasonable fines
  • Foreclose on a house for unpaid liens

Any other HOA business type will have its powers listed in the governing documents. Moreover, an HOA’s governing documents can grant added powers such as restrictions on membership, parking, fencing, and exterior paint color.

Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in New York?

HOAs that oversee condos can impose fines on a homeowner in New York. The expenses imposed by HOAs, mortgage, and other housing costs paid by homeowners are not to exceed 30% of the household income. Types of fines and amounts are determined by the HOA’s governing documents.

Other HOA businesses will have specific provisions regarding imposing fines in their governing documents.

An HOA may not fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:

  • Using electric vehicles
  • Installing electric vehicle charging stations
  • Installing solar panels
  • 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

The governing documents of an HOA may include reasonable rules and regulations about the placement, manner, and display of any of the items listed above.

Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in New York?

In New York, an HOA can foreclose on a homeowner’s house for unpaid liens. HOAs that look after condos are required to provide a notice of lien 60 days after charges were due. After a notice of lien has been sent and fines are still not paid, liens can be subject to foreclosure.

Other types of HOAs have certain conditions regarding liens and foreclosures in their governing documents.

There are no state laws in New York about HOA eviction ability. HOAs may be allowed to evict homeowners or tenants if rules and regulations are violated. Information about eviction procedures will be based on the HOAs governing documents or on the local level.

Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in New York?

HOAs managing condos can enter a homeowner’s property in New York to conduct emergency repairs and prevent harm to common elements. All other types of HOA properties are subject to their governing documents.

A homeowner’s unit is only intended for the property owner’s use but has certain spaces that require maintenance by the HOA, such as balconies. Common elements are the shared spaces around the units owned by the HOA, such as elevators. Shared utilities may include water or trash removal directly provided by the HOA.

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 New York?

Where to file a complaint against an HOA in New York depends on the type of complaint.

For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or hire a private attorney. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, homeowners may also file in state or federal court within one year of the violation date.

For complaints of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights, Office of the Attorney General, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in New York state or federal court.

Alternatively, a homeowner with any other complaints can bring a claim in state court in the appropriate county.

Joining and Leaving an HOA in New York

There is no state provision in New York that governs joining and leaving an HOA. Generally, 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 New York

The process for dissolution of an HOA in New York may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, there are two ways HOAs are able to be dissolved: