If you just became a new member of the board of directors for a homeowner’s association, you need to be aware that HOAs are very powerful organizations. You also need to be aware that while most homeowners in the neighborhood welcome and abide by the HOA’s regulations, some either cannot or will not. You may therefore find yourself in the position of having to help resolve disputes between individuals and the HOA. 

FindLaw explains that the HOA’s board of directors determines the organization’s bylaws, rules, regulations and fees. The homeowners then must abide by the board’s decisions. 

Typical restrictions 

Keep in mind that Michigan has no statute regarding HOAs. Therefore, each HOA decides for itself what it wants to regulate and how it will enforce those regulations. Typical restrictions that HOAs put on their homeowners include the following: 

  • Whether or not they can operate a home business 
  • Whether or not they can own pets and if so, how many and of what size 
  • Whether or not they can install major landscaping elements, such as trees, hedges, shrubs, fences, etc. 
  • Whether or not they can erect playground equipment and if so, where they can install it 
  • Whether or not they can have storage sheds and if so, what sizes 
  • Whether or not they can use certain types and colors of siding, shingles and paint 

Fees and charges 

Your HOA basically has carte blanche with regard to the fees and charges you assess against the individual homeowners. For instance, you may wish to charge them a monthly fee to cover their portion of the cost of cutting the grass in the summer, removing leaves in the fall, and removing snow from streets and sidewalks in the winter.