Do HOA rules override city ordinances?

I’m considering purchasing a home in a gated community. It’s a part of an HOA, but I’m a bit confused about how their rules and regulations work. Do HOA rules override city ordinances?

Emily Maracle · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
It’s great you’re doing your research before deciding to purchase a home! HOA rules do not override city ordinances.
A homeowners association (HOA) must follow the law, meaning any rules or regulations they put in place must meet state and city ordinances. An HOA couldn’t have a rule that defies a city ordinance. That said, HOAs usually have more strict guidelines than you would find in a city.
For example, your HOA may have guidelines about painting your home, changing its structure, the type of landscaping you do, when you put your trash out, pet restrictions, or even holiday decoration restrictions.
While city ordinances likely exist for some of these categories, in most instances, as a homeowner, you’re free to do as you please.
When you choose to join an HOA, you sign a legally binding agreement, which the HOA can enforce. If you break a rule or bylaw, you could face fines or serious legal consequences.
Be sure to review the HOA bylaws and ask any questions you may have. If you don’t agree with any of the bylaws or don’t feel you could follow them, you’ll want to look elsewhere for your new home.
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MORE: How to choose the right kind of car and homeowners insurance
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