An HOA has quite a bit of power given to it by its own bylaws. While they do not have the right to do everything that they want, they will have very wide latitude to institute new rules so long as they are following their own bylaws.
Pay Attention to Process
The bylaws will provide a process that the HOA must follow when making new rules. Usually, the rules will need to come up for a vote. All bylaws would require the board to vote on the rules, and owners will usually have their own votes before it passes. The HOA would also need to follow any other requirements for new rules that are in its governing documents. Once the rule passes, it will become binding, and everyone must follow it. The main requirement is that the new rule not violate any state or federal housing law. Outside that, the HOA can usually do what it wants.
Nonetheless, the HOA needs to be prepared to enforce any new rule in an even-handed manner. If the new HOA rule is unworkable, the HOA could end up in trouble when they try to enforce it. Before proposing and passing the rule, the HOA should consider the ramifications and think ahead. If the rule is not against the bylaws and is practically possible, the HOA could make any rule that it wants.
However, HOAs need to be prepared for individual homeowners who are opposed to the rule to do what they can to stop it. This could even include a lawsuit. However, HOAs who follow their own governing documents are on relatively safe legal ground.
California HOA Board Lawyers
Call the attorneys at Pratt & Associates at 408.369.0800 or contact us online if you have any questions about HOA rules. We have offices in San Jose, CA, Campbell, CA, Mountain View, CA, Sunnyvale, CA, Santa Clara, CA, and Cupertino, CA.