My home, my rules. We all want that. But living in a building or a property that has multiple owners inevitably means having to follow the rules of HOA. There are always tons of rules and regulations, even for your guests, and some HOA boards are extremely strict when it comes to enforcing policy, so knowing the rules and your rights is important.
In this article, I give you a glimpse of the general HOA policies that are imposed on visitors. But your specific HOA can have a separate set of rules. So, do check your own HOA CC&Rs for specific limitations and make sure you have the most updated CC&Rs when reviewing the guest provisions.
Generally, the number of day guests and size of a gathering is not limited. The size of a party in the common area may be restricted. Long-term guests will commonly be restricted. The number of visitor parking spots per resident can be limited. Individual guests can be banned with just cause.
The Number of Guests Per Day
Most HOAs do not have any restrictions on the number of ‘day guests’ you can have at your place.
You could have a stream of people coming and going, but, as long as they do not interfere with things like traffic flow in the neighborhood, then your HOA should not have an issue.
However, the number needs to be considered if you are going to be using the common facilities or areas like the swimming pool. I speak more about this in the next section.
If you are interested in annoying your HOA legally, then aim for the maximum guest limit every time.
The size of any gathering is not typically regulated by the HOA.
However, at a specific time (like the weekend) or sometimes just generally, there might be restrictions on the number of guests that you can entertain at once in a common area and you will probably also have to book if you plan on hosting a larger party.
Some HOAs stipulate that the owner/tenant must be present when a guest is on the property and using facilities, especially if there are recreational facilities like a game room or a swimming pool that people may wish to use.
Furthermore, as an owner, you are responsible for ensuring that all your guests comply with the applicable association rules and that there are no violations or damage to the property.
While hosting a social gathering at your place, the only thing you have to ensure is that no other resident is disturbed or inconvenienced in any way. You can do that by making sure the noise level is under control, there is no littering on the premises, and your guests have not parked their vehicles in someone else’s parking space.
Keeping the global pandemic situation in mind, most HOAs have now implemented strict rules on social gatherings to keep a check on the spread of the COVID-19 virus. You will have to contact your HOA for the COVID-19-applicable rules.
How Long They Stay
As mentioned, HOAs do not usually have firm policies when it comes to day guests, however, for long-term guests, there are some common rules that are implemented by HOAs everywhere. The primary reason for having strict provisions for long-term guests is to prevent unauthorized renters or sublettors.
If you are trying to legitimately rent out your property, this rule is one of the many reasons why an HOA is bad because controlling renters is one of the ways that HOAs can control what you do inside of your house.
These strict rules might annoy you but imagine having to deal with unruly guests, who, in your neighbor’s absence, have been occupying your neighbor’s apartment for weeks. Since these guests have no legal ties to the property, you can’t hold them responsible.
In order to prevent unauthorized renting or subletting, most HOAs restrict the number of days a guest can stay with and without the owner’s presence. These rules do take into consideration having someone house-sitting for you while you are on a vacation or if you want to host a relative or a friend for months at a time.
HOA rules also come into play in cases of high occupancy when 15-20 guests are crammed in a two-bedroom apartment for weeks. This situation not only puts your health and safety at risk, but you might also be violating certain zoning laws, which are strict about the number of occupants per bedroom.
Limited by Number of Cars Permitted
HOAs don’t restrict the number of guests visiting your home based on the number of vehicles you are allowed. As an owner, you will be given a separate parking spot and your guests will be expected either to park in the allotted visitor’s space or find their parking on the streets.
An HOA has the capacity to control unassigned parking spaces, and determine how these free spaces will be used. Usually, these free spaces are allotted for visitor parking.
Guests’ vehicles may be given a parking permit or charged a parking fee based on the duration. For example, a parking fee might be levied on overnight guests but not on day guests who are only visiting for a few hours.
Parking depends a lot on the size of your community. Sometimes, a premise only has parking spots for the owners and not for the visitors. In that case, visitors will have to find their own parking space.
While they will more than likely be prohibited from parking on lawns and the like, sometimes, the adjacent private street is allotted by the HOA for visitor’s parking.
Can HOAs Ban a Particular Guest?
If your guest has misbehaved, damaged common property or another homeowners’ property, or violated significant HOA rules, then the HOA can most certainly prohibit this guest from entering the premises.
All HOAs have an obligation to ensure everyone is safe and the property is secure. So, if your guest is found creating a ruckus, defacing the property, or doing something atrocious, then your guest will be banned by the HOA.
If you feel that the HOA is being unfair then you can raise this issue in the next HOA meeting or even take legal action against the HOA. But, if the ban on your guest is justified, or if that particular guest is a repeat offender, then, as a responsible resident of that community, you must support the decision of the HOA.
If, however, you suspect that the HOA is trying to ban one of your guests because of their sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc., then this is a serious matter. If you want to learn more about your rights as a homeowner in an HOA, you can start with my article on Unenforceable HOA Rules.
What About Unprecedented Circumstances (COVID-19)?
The global pandemic wreaked—and, indeed, is still causing—havoc globally. It has drastically altered the way that we live.
In order to stop the spread of this virus and keep the residents safe, HOAs everywhere implemented restrictions on non-essential visitors.
Even though the world is slowly returning to normal and people are getting vaccinated, some HOAs are still following certain preventive measures regarding guests. This is particularly true of communities with many older citizens or over-50’s HOAs.
In cases of such unprecedented circumstances, it’s always better to follow the HOA guidelines.
So, before you invite any guest home, you must find out what safety precautions your guest must take. For example, your guest might not be allowed to enter without a mask or the common areas might be off-limit for guests.