If you want to understand how homeowners associations (HOAs) in Iowa are run, then you need to learn more about the laws that govern them.

At DoorLoop, we understand the importance of equipping yourself with knowledge, which is why we have created this guide. In this article, we will break them down for you to provide more insight into the legal framework that regulates these organizations.

What Are Homeowners Associations?

Before we get to the state laws that these entities are subjected to, we will first provide a definition of the term "homeowners association."

A homeowners or community association is a group that creates regulations and guidelines for homeowners in a specified area. While some homeowner's associations allow for membership on a voluntary basis, most HOAs require new residents to register as members.

It is the responsibility of all homeowners associations to ensure that the homes in the community retain their value. While the specific tasks of each association may differ from one neighborhood to the next, the basic purpose of every HOA is to create a pleasant, orderly, and peaceful environment in which all members feel their needs are being addressed.

These organizations are run by a board of directors and are governed by the relevant state, federal, and local laws of the land. They are also subject to their own internal governing documents.

The Rights and Responsibilities of Homeowners Associations in Iowa

HOAs often have the authority to uphold the community's covenants, conditions, and restrictions. They could have the right to restrict architectural modifications and landscaping and are permitted to collect dues and assessments for the maintenance and repair of shared spaces and amenities.

On the other hand, these private entities have certain responsibilities, such as ensuring financial transparency, scheduling regular board meetings, and ensuring that all members have access to the association's governing documents.

They must follow state and federal laws, protect homeowners' rights, and guarantee that rules and regulations are enforced fairly and consistently.

State Laws That Govern Iowa Homeowners Associations

HOA board members, managers, and executives need to be well-versed in the state laws that govern homeowners associations in Iowa. In the section below, we'll provide an overview of these laws, but keep in mind that additional local, state, or federal laws may apply, so additional research may be necessary.

Revised Iowa NonProfit Corporation Act

In Iowa, there is no state law that oversees homeowner's associations. The majority of HOAs are considered nonprofit enterprises and are governed by the Revised Iowa NonProfit Corporation Act. This law governs all corporations formed in Iowa, providing guidelines for their internal procedures and corporate structure.

Iowa Horizontal Property Act

The Iowa Horizontal Property Act covers the establishment, administration, authority, and activities of horizontal property regimes that expressly choose to be regulated by the legislation by filing a declaration of such intent (known as a Master Deed) in the local county recorder's office.

Iowa Civil Rights Act

Like the federal Fair Housing Act, this law is designed to safeguard the public's right to equal housing opportunities, regardless of their sex, religion, race, sexual orientation, color, gender identity, creed, age, handicap, or national origin. It offers state-level protections for homeowners. 

Restrictive Covenants

This law empowers local city councils and the county's board of supervisors to enact rules that prevent HOAs from prohibiting or restricting the use of solar collectors. Local authorities are responsible for enacting and enforcing these laws.

HOA Fees and Fines

Community associations in Iowa can punish homeowners who violate its HOA rules. The governing documents of the association contain information on the notification requirements and the amount that will be charged. 

However, it's important to remember that the law does not permit homeowners associations in Iowa to prohibit the installation of satellite dishes, antennas, and solar collectors. In addition, property owners may not be restricted from displaying the US national flag, provided it is done in accordance with federal flag display legislation.

Liens and Foreclosures

In Iowa, there is no law that regulates a homeowners association's power to seize the home of a delinquent HOA member. However, these organizations can foreclose on a home when the owner refuses to pay their fees and levies.

A lien may be placed on the property, and failing to address this HOA lien could lead to foreclosure. Keep in mind that community associations in Iowa can foreclose on a home through judicial or non-judicial methods. 

About DoorLoop's HOA Management Tools

As a board member, manager, or executive, it's important that you have access to the tools you need to properly manage your homeowners' association in accordance with the relevant legislation. However, finding the right software to help you schedule HOA meetings, communicate with vendors and members, complete accounting tasks, and more can be challenging.

Many companies charge exorbitant prices for their property management software, and when it comes to features and ease of use, they leave you wanting. Now, there is an intuitive set of HOA management tools that you can count on to streamline your workflow.

DoorLoop makes preparing financial statements, budgets, and more much easier and ensures that you have one place to store your important HOA records. With these innovative tools and more, you can ensure that your homeowners' association remains compliant with the relevant Iowa HOA laws.

Try it out risk-free by scheduling a free demo! To learn more about our property management software, get in touch with us today.

Final Remarks

Now that you understand the Iowa HOA laws, rules, and regulations in place, you will need to ensure that your HOA meets these standards. To do so, you can turn to DoorLoop for powerful tools, world-class support, and incredible ease of use.

The best part is that you can try it out before making a purchase, so be sure to get a free demo today and see what DoorLoop can do for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are HOA governing documents considered public records in Iowa?

In Iowa, an association's governing documents are not open to the public. That's because HOAs are not required to file their bylaws with any government entity.

However, the Iowa Secretary of State requires that HOAs file Articles of Incorporation and other records. Therefore, you can look up these documents on the Secretary of State's website. 

2. What HOA fees do Iowa homeowner associations charge?

The truth is that HOA fees vary from one association to the next. In general, the more amenities a community has, the more homeowners can expect to pay in HOA fees.

3. Why do I need to know Iowa HOA laws?

Homeowners association board members, executives, and managers in Iowa must be familiar with Iowa HOA regulations in order to ensure legal compliance, efficient management, and transparent administration.

Understanding these laws is critical for making educated decisions, settling conflicts, and preserving communal harmony. It also aids in the enforcement of laws and regulations, the management of funds, and the organization of fair elections.

Ignorance of these laws can result in legal issues, financial implications, and strained relationships with homeowners.

4. Can homeowners file lawsuits against a homeowners association in Iowa?

Yes. Disgruntled HOA members can approach a lawyer and file a private lawsuit against a community association for violating their rights in state or federal court. This is why it's important to ensure that HOAs comply with the relevant legislation. To learn more about dealing with complaints, click here.

5. Why do I need HOA management software?

HOA management software is vital for running an effective and well-organized homeowners organization. It makes handling administrative duties such as collecting assessments, storing important records, and communicating with vendors and members easier.

This improves efficiency and reduces the administrative workload for board members and management by streamlining their workflow. It also contributes to financial transparency, data security, and regulatory compliance.

Finally, it's a useful tool for keeping a community association structured, financially sound, and harmonious.

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David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!