Ohio HOA Laws

Ohio HOA Laws

Last Updated: June 15, 2023 by Corrin Swintosky

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

Who Regulates HOAs in Ohio?

HOAs in Ohio are regulated by the Ohio Planned Community Law found in Title 53 Chapter 5312 of the Ohio Laws & Administrative Rules. This act applies to owners of lots that govern and maintain a planned community.

A planned community consists of owners becoming members of the association, handling membership fees, and uses of the common facilities for the benefit of the owner. These items and other provisions may also be managed by an HOA’s own governing documents.

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 Ohio may be subject to applicable federal law such as:

HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:

How to Find HOA Regulations in Ohio

HOA governing documents are public records in Ohio. To establish an HOA, these records must be filed with the office of the recorder of the county where the HOA property is located. To obtain these documents, visit the local office of the recorder.

HOAs are set up as nonprofit corporations. Any reports, certificates, or other documents for nonprofits required to be filed with the Ohio Secretary of State can be accessed online. A Certificate of Good Standing can be purchased for a fee while all other documents are available for free.

HOA Powers in Ohio

In Ohio, an HOA has the power to:

  • Collect assessments for common expenses
  • Maintain common areas
  • Collect fees for the use of common areas
  • Levy reasonable fines
  • Foreclose on a house for unpaid fines

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 Ohio?

In Ohio, an HOA can impose fines on a homeowner for late payments, violation of rules, and damage to property. The processes for imposing fines, type, and amount are determined by the HOA’s governing documents.

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

  • Displaying the American flag, the State of Ohio flag, or the POW/MIA flag as long as it is consistent with federal flag law
  • Installing a flagpole for the purpose of displaying the American flag, the State of Ohio flag, or the POW/MIA flag
  • Installing satellite dishes and antennas

An HOA’s governing documents may include reasonable rules and regulations regarding the placement, manner, and display of acceptable flags, flagpoles, and satellite dishes and antennas.

Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Ohio?

An HOA in Ohio 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.

An HOA cannot evict a homeowner. However, an HOA overseeing condos can evict a tenant. All other types of HOAs provisions for evicting tenants should be referenced in the governing documents. 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 Ohio?

In Ohio, HOAs can enter a homeowner’s property when conditions pose an immediate danger to occupants, common areas, or other individual units. Entry by HOAs may also be reasonably necessary to maintain units, common elements, or shared utilities.

Units are private spaces only intended for the property owner’s use but have 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.

Types of emergencies and notice to homeowners are determined by the HOA’s governing documents.

Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Ohio?

The venue for filing a Complaint against an HOA in Ohio 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 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 Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Ohio state or 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 STATE

In Ohio, if an individual buys a property governed by an HOA they are required to join and abide by the HOA rules. At closing, the homeowner’s realtor should present them with documents explaining the HOA and its rules.

If a person bought a house in a neighborhood with an HOA, they cannot opt-out of the HOA. To leave an HOA, the homeowner can sell their house or try to petition the HOA to have their home removed from the association.

However, there is no guaranteed right that the petition will be granted.

How to Dissolve an HOA in Ohio

The process for dissolution of an HOA in Ohio may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, a majority vote by members is required to adopt a resolution of dissolution.

If a resolution of dissolution is adopted, a certificate needs to be filed with the Ohio Secretary of State. In addition to the certificate filing, receipts showing all employees and taxes have been paid or a signed affidavit with the effective date of dissolution.

Upon the filing of the certificate and supportive documents, the HOA will be considered dissolved.