Homeowner Associations are governed by a chain of governing documents and laws.
- The Articles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State provide the legal basis of the association in the form of an Incorporated Non-Profit Corporation.
- The recorded map or 'plat' defines each owner's title to property including the association's title to common areas.
- The CCR's (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) are publicly recorded deed restrictions.
- The Bylaws are the rules for management and administration.
- Resolutions are additional rules and regulations that the association may adopt.
- Federal Laws also apply. Some but not all include the The Fair Housing Act, Internal Revenue Codes, the American Disabilities Act, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act , the FCC OTARD Rule (Over the Air Reception Devices - Satellite Dishes) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- Information regarding State Laws specific to common interest communities such as condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowner associations are provided below and in the FAQ section of the Resouce Center. In addition there are typically additional state laws that are not specific to Common Interest Communities which require compliance. Some examples include stormwater runoff, coastal development, elevator inspections for condos, and pool operations to name a few.
- Local Ordinances, while not specific to homeowner associations, apply to building codes, animal control, abandoned cars, water restrictions, etc.
- Additional legal regulations can exist in the form of case law; standards set by professional organizations such as accountants, engineers, architects, home inspectors, and real estate brokers; as well as lender requirements.
- State laws affecting Common Interest Communities vary widely.
- Bills affecting Common Interest Communities are frequently being introduced in state legislatures and may be in different stages of consideration, approval, or enactment.
- It is not uncommon to find conflicts within or between governing documents such as the covenants and the bylaws. There may also be conflicts between governing documents and statutes. When this occurs, attorneys must often consider applying Rules of Intepretation.
- Because of the wide variance in state laws, constant changes and possible conflicts in governing documents or statutes, it is strongly recommended that association boards and members seek legal counsel and especially with firms that have expertise or strong practice experience in the area of Common Interest Community law. A good starting point is to check the HOA-USA Partner Directory for your respective state.
Pennsylvania State Laws:
- Pennsylvania Flag Bill "American, Commonwealth and Military Flag Act."
It provides that, notwithstanding a provision in the bylaws or other rules of a homeowner's association, cooperative, condominium or planned community, a unit owner may fly the American flag, the Pennsylvania flag, or a military flag within his portion of the property under his exclusive control. The flag may not exceed 3'x 5'. The bill provides that the association must permit the flying of such flags on enumerated days, including: President's Day, Iwo Jima Flag Raising Day, Vietnam Veteran's Day, V-E Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, V-J Day, Patriot's Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day, Veterans Day, Pearl Harbor Day and the birthday of each branch of the United States Armed Forces.