Is a Tenant bound by home owner association rules & codes of conduct?

Tenant and home owner association

The landlord, being the owner of the property, is legally obligated to follow the home owner association rules and codes of conduct. When the tenant enters a lease agreement with the owner the tenant becomes contractually bound to the landlord. But there is no written legal contract between the tenant and the Homeowners Association… so the tenant is not bound to or obliged to follow the home owner association rules and codes of conduct, right? Wrong.

If you are a lessee leasing a property in a residential complex, then you are required to comply with the rules of the Homeowner Association.

Consider the following case:

  • A residential complex installed pre-paid meters for essential services. The Homeowners Association sold vouchers for the meters to the residents in the complex. There was a provision in its rules and regulations stating that if an owner was in default of paying any amount due to the HOA for more than two months, the HOA could refuse to sell prepaid vouchers for use with the prepaid meters in the defaulter’s property.
  • In this case, a tenant occupied the unit. Meanwhile, the HOA had imposed a fine on the owner for breaching rules: a fine that the owner refused to pay. The amount was still outstanding two months later. So the homeowners association refused to sell prepaid vouchers to the owner’s tenant.
  • Understandably, the tenant was rather upset by this turn of events. So he approached the court for an order compelling the HOA to sell him the vouchers.
  • The court rejected the tenant’s application, and held in favour of the Home Owners Association. The court’s view was that when the tenant leased his residence in the complex, the tenant had agreed to be bound by the rules and regulations imposed by the HOA.

The tenant’s recourse in this instance would be, not against the HOA, who the court found were acting within their rights, but against the owner – his landlord – being the defaulting party in the case. The nature of the tenant’s recourse would, of course, be dependent on the wording of the rental agreement he had signed. Hopefully his Lease Agreement made suitable provision for a breach clause!

Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.

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