Homeowners associations (HOAs) manage many planned communities in West Virginia. Various local, state, and federal regulations as well as governing documents oversee HOAs in West Virginia.
Who Regulates HOAs in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, HOAs are regulated by the Uniform Common Interest Community Act found in West Virginia Code §36B. This act applies to residential developments with common areas run by members. This act does not apply to condominiums, cooperative housing corporations, or any development that is not for residential purposes.
HOAs also 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 West Virginia may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:
HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:
- West Virginia Unit Property Act
- West Virginia Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act
- West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act
How to Find HOA Regulations in West Virginia
HOA governing documents are public records in West Virginia. The records must be filed in the county where the property is located. These documents can be obtained by visiting the local county clerk’s office.
Alternatively, a website exists that allows residents to access these records and reports produced by the West Virginia Organization of Homeowners Association.
HOA Powers in West Virginia
In West Virginia, an HOA has the power to:
- Adopt and amend bylaws, rules and regulations
- Maintain common elements in the community
- Place liens on properties to collect overdue bills
- Make additional improvements on the common elements
Moreover, HOA governing documents can grant additional powers such as granting or placing restrictions on memberships, changing different elements of the common areas, and parking requirements.
Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, an HOA can impose fines on a homeowner for violating its rules if stated in the governing documents. Furthermore, West Virginia law gives HOAs the right to impose fines on homeowners.
The governing documents will note the amount and type of fees in the HOA as well as the notice requirements for such fees.
Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, an HOA can foreclose on a homeowner’s house 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 no state laws allowing an HOA to evict a homeowner. However, HOA provisions may exist for evicting tenants, and 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 Your Property in West Virginia?
There is no state provision in West Virginia 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 cases of emergency, maintenance, or violation of any rules or regulations.
Except in cases of emergency, an HOA should provide reasonable notice to the homeowner prior to the HOA entering the property. A reasonable timeline can range depending on the reason for entry. Reasonable notice can be between three days and a couple of weeks.
Where Do Homeowners File a Complaint Against Their HOA in West Virginia?
There are different agencies to file a complaint against an HOA, which is dependent on the type of complaint.
If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or file a private lawsuit in West Virginia state or federal court.
For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the local county or city housing department, 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 West Virginia
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 court to have their home removed. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.
How to Dissolve an HOA in West Virginia
The governing documents will usually contain the process for dissolving the HOA. If not, then the board members of the HOA must propose dissolution to the members of the HOA.
After the proposal, appropriate notice must be provided to the members of the HOA.
If approved, the agreeing members will sign a termination agreement and carry out any other business needs, such as settling debts, disposing of assets, and filing the necessary documentation with the county recorder in which the property is located. The HOA will also need to file the necessary documents with the West Virginia Secretary of State.