General Assembly could give Homeowner Associations more authority

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) — Are you a member of a homeowner association? It is estimated over 60 million Americans are.

And now a bill in the General Assembly, which the House and Senate have already cleared different versions of, would give HOA’s more authority.

The bill allows homeowners associations to impose fines even if their original charter does not allow for it (unless covenant rules explicitly say “no fines”).

One version even allows for utilities to be shut off if fines aren’t paid in a timely manner.

“I don’t want someone coming in here and telling me what to do,” Dan Matthews, a member of the Willbrook Community Association in Henrico said.

Matthews says he was initially resistant to joining an HOA, though he eventually did, comforted by the fact his HOA doesn’t currently have the authority to impose fines.

Still, not all HOA members are upset with neighborhood groups having authority.

Lisa Jones, who lives in Henrico’s Wyndham development, said her HOA ensures property values are maintained.

“If you didn’t you could have someone come in here and put up a purple balloon on their roof that drives down all of our property values,” Jones said.

While different versions of the bill have passed the House and Senate, the bill is currently in a conference committee, where an unusual alliance is beginning to form between liberal Democrats and Tea Party Republicans, groups that are concerned about property rights.

The alliance appears to be reducing support for the bill across the General Assembly.

“I think we are trying to put this bill to bed right now,” St. Senator Chap Petersen said.

Original sponsor St. Delegate Jim Lemonyun (R) was unavailable at the time of this publication, although a spokesman for his office told CBS 6 that he expects the bill to have “major changes” to it in the next couple days.

10 comments

  • Glen Allen

    “Lisa Jones, who lives in Henrico’s Wyndham development, said her HOA ensures property values are maintained.” – Lisa, please be careful, depending upon how extreme the authority reaches, your property value could easily, and quickly, go DOWN.

    • Joe Johnson

      No one forces you to live in a HOA community Leo. They are for your own protection, but you aren’t forced to have the protection.

      • Michael Reardon

        Nonsense! There are NO election laws observed by HOAs.
        Mine fraudulently manipulates the ballot and even RECORDS in their minutes that NO votes will be counted as YES votes.
        HOAs are a joke, and only the lawyers who “specialize” in them are laughing

  • Manalishi.

    “General Assembly could give Homeowner Associations more authority”. So,, when can we expect the general assembly to grant more authority to home owners over their own property. If politicians would like to improve their image, they could start by honoring the oath over outside interest. This is unrespectable/unacceptable. I will criticize the lot of them until they take this states economic growth seriously..

  • in1nuthouse

    Hope it FAILS. And anyone who willing buys a house in one of these places is an idiot. Why would you ever be ok with paying $200+K on a house for someone else can tell you what you can and cannot do with/on it???

    I think I’ll take a drive by on the James River bridge and smile at the old Monster house again today…… love what that man did to prove a point!

  • not applicable

    our HOA is already taking and enforcing more than they should, due to the principal owner who elected his own board. more people are moving out rather than moving in. soon he will be the principal of an empty community if he keeps it up.

  • Michael Reardon

    These bills are being introduced by the lawyers who ‘specialize’ in HOAs

    They are designed to take your equity and savings, and put them in THEIR pockets.

    They are a dying industry, and more and more people understand the bottom-feeding nature of them.

    Hopefully they will soon go back to chasing ambulences.

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