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Your HOA Still Has Powers During a Pandemic

Angry woman arguing with her male neighbor at fenceline
By Andrew Leonatti on April 21, 2020 9:20 AM

By now, the risks facing doctors, nurses, and other health care workers in the battle against the coronavirus are plain to see. Unfortunately, many of those health care workers are bringing COVID-19 home to their families.

Some have found a way to reduce the risks to their loved ones while still maintaining a sense of closeness by parking their RVs at home and living out of them. This allows children to visit their health care worker parent from an appropriate distance.

For those who don't own an RV, a charitable group, RVs 4 MDs, quickly came into being and got to work. Strangers across the country have donated their RVs for health care workers to live in them.

That is, until the real unsung heroes of this crisis, the homeowners' association board members, got word and sprang into action.

Don't Park That RV in Your Driveway (That You Own)

In Burlington County, New Jersey, one physician's assistant was told she couldn't park an RV in her driveway to self-isolate closer to home.

While the HOA "empathize[s] with the plight of everyone on the front lines fighting coronavirus," the "community" (using that term real loosely here) was not designed to allow for RVs, apparently.

That was a close one!

In Clay County, Florida, a nurse was threatened with $1,000 a day in fines by her HOA if she didn't get her RV out of her driveway. While she was hoping for a little leniency during these times, she forgot that the backbreaking work of enforcing every petty grievance is never done.

The HOA Wants to Speak With Your Manager

In Olathe, Kansas, residents of the Forest View homeowners' association were shocked to receive a letter from the HOA's property management firm requesting that any resident who receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis report it to the HOA so they can notify the "community."

It can't be a real community without a ruler!

After some huffing and puffing that no, the HOA wasn't going to share your name with anyone else, they eventually relented in the face of overwhelming criticism. But not before arguing that since the HOA isn't a health care provider, the letter didn't violate any health care privacy laws.

Don't Make Money in Your Home, Either!

In Tennessee, a post on Reddit quickly went viral claiming that an HOA board contacted several members of its "community" threatening foreclosure on their homes because of work-from-home activities.

Apparently running an actual business that involves shipping product or having a constant flow of customers to your home is the same as working your cubicle job from the couch.

While the post was deleted, several Reddit users who frequent the legal subreddits said the letter was authentic.

Again, we're all better off for these HOA boards for these important reminders that conformity takes precedence above all else!

Yes, Many of These Powers Are Real

We hope you picked up on our sarcasm. What is all too real, however, is that HOAs have broad power under contractual and real estate laws to enforce their bylaws.

Each HOA's rules are different, however. In some cases, such as the scenario in Tennessee, board members may be getting ahead of themselves just a bit. In those cases, a friendly reminder from an attorney may do the trick.

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