My HOA Is Going To Fine Me For Painting My House. Can They Do That?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

‘I painted my house with colors that exist in the neighborhood, in fact the trim is about the same color it always was. There is another house in the neighborhood with the stucco the exact same color as mine. Now I received a letter from the HOA that I will be fined because I painted without approval and not with approved colors. Can they do that? The other house was not fined. Also, if I don’t pay what can happen? I have stage 4 breast cancer and can’t afford to repaint or pay fines. Thank you so much for your time!’Homeowner Associations can have pretty broad authority when it comes to things like paint colors. If your HOA has a list of approved colors (usually specified by brand/color code) or a requirement for approval
prior to painting which you did not follow, you are probably out of luck, and subject to a fine (within reason).

Question: Assuming your neighbor also used a non-approved color and/or painted without pre-approval, pointing this fact out could get your neighbor fined, as well. This won’t help you much.
The same rules that stop you from painting your house half a shade too dark also prevent your neighbor from painting his house pink with yellow polka dots; you take the good with the bad when you buy into an HOA. Unless your HOA is acting way out of reason (such as fining you more than the property is worth for painting), a court is not likely to be sympathetic when they point out that you didn’t follow the terms of
the contract you signed on to when you bought the property.