In Utah, 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 Utah?
In Utah, HOAs are regulated by the Utah Community Association Act found in Title 57 Chapter 8a of the Utah Code. This act governs all members of associations that own a residential lot and pays their share of the total property expenses.
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 Utah 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 Utah
HOA documents are public records in Utah. HOAs are required to file their bylaws with the office of the recorder in each county the HOA holds property. To obtain these documents, visit the local county office of the recorder.
HOAs are also required to register with the Utah Department of Commerce. Filings can be viewed online by conducting a Business Search.HOA records can be purchased online to view for a fee.
HOA Powers in Utah
In Utah, HOAs have the power to:
- Collect payments for common assessments
- Levy reasonable fines
- Limit the number of rentals or prohibit rentals
- Maintain common areas and owner’s lot
- Foreclose on a home for unpaid liens
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 Utah?
In Utah, HOAs can impose fines on a homeowner for violation of its rules listed in the governing documents. Before a fine can be imposed, the HOA must give the homeowner written notice describing the violation, what rules the homeowner’s action violates, and a remedy if it is a continuing violation.
A homeowner has an opportunity to request an informal hearing before the board within 30 days after written notice of the fine being imposed. Additionally, the homeowner can appeal the board’s decision within 180 days by imposing a civil action.
Other specific processes, amounts, and types of fines can be found in the HOA’s governing documents.
An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:
- Installing a solar energy system to a detached building
- Installing an electric vehicle charging system
- Installing satellite dishes and antennas
- Incorporating water wise landscaping
- Displaying the American flag so long as the flag is displayed in a manner consistent with federal flag display law
Reasonable rules and regulations about the placement, manner, and display of any of the items listed above may be included in the HOAs governing documents.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Utah?
An HOA in Utah 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.
There are two ways an HOA can foreclose on a home:
- Judicial Foreclosure. The HOA files a lawsuit against the homeowner to obtain a court order granting permission to sell the home and settle the HOA lien.
- Nonjudicial Foreclosure. The HOA would not go through state court but simply follow specific procedures listed in their governing documents.
There is no state provision on if an HOA can evict homeowners or tenants in Utah. 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 also 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 Utah?
In Utah, an HOA can enter a homeowner’s property for conducting emergency repairs. HOAs may also require entry into a homeowner’s property to access a common area to make repairs.
For nonemergencies, HOAs are required to provide homeowners with written notice 24 hours before entry. For emergencies, notice must be reasonable under the circumstances. The homeowner’s property is only to be used by the owners but has certain spaces that require maintenance by the HOA, such as balconies.
Common areas are the shared spaces in and around the house that are collectively owned by the HOA, such as hallways or elevators. Shared utilities may include water or sewage that are provided directly through the HOA.
Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Utah?
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 Utah Labor Commission, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Utah state or federal court.
For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the Utah 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.
A homeowner can bring all other complaints to state court in the appropriate jurisdiction by filing a claim.
Joining and Leaving an HOA in STATE
In Utah, if a person purchases a home in a neighborhood with a preexisting HOA, they must join and start paying their share of expenses and common assessments. A homeowner should be presented with documents explaining the HOA and its rules at the closing of their home purchase.
If a person bought a house in an area where an HOA is present, they cannot leave or opt-out of the HOA. To depart from an HOA, the homeowner can sell their house or petition the HOA to have their home removed from the association.
However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.
How to Dissolve an HOA in Utah
The process for the dissolution of an HOA in Utah may be outlined in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, the board members of the HOA must propose dissolution to the members of the HOA.
Once dissolution has been proposed, HOA members need to reach a majority vote in favor of dissolution. A plan of dissolution must be drafted by the board to distribute assets and debts.
Once approved by HOA members, an Articles of Dissolution needs to be filed with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. An HOA is considered fully resolved upon filing or the date listed on its Articles of Incorporation.
- 1 Utah Code § 57-8a-216
- 2 What are my rights as a Homeowner in an HOA or COA?
- 3 Utah Code § 57-8a-201
- 4 Utah Code § 57-8a-208
- 5 Utah Code § 57-8a-209
- 6 Utah Code § 57-8a-224
- 7 Utah Code § 57-8a-302
- 8 Utah Code § 57-8a-701
- 9 Utah Code § 57-8a-802
- 10 Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD Rule)
- 11 Utah Code § 57-8a-231
- 12 4 U.S.C. § 5
- 13 Utah Code § 57-8a-224
- 14 Utah Code § 57-8a-201
- 15 Utah Code § 16-6a-1402
- 16 Domestic Non-Profit Corporation
- 17 Utah Code § 16-6a-1403