Are the manager, executive, or board member of a homeowners association (HOA) in Massachusetts? In that case, you need to ensure that you are familiar with the state laws that govern these entities.

However, navigating these complex laws without a legal background can be difficult, which is why we have decided to create this easy-to-understand guide to help you.

Here, we will provide a simple definition of the term "homeowners association," talk about the rights and responsibilities of such organizations, and offer an overview of the relevant legislation.

What Is a Homeowners Association, Anyway?

Homeowner associations are private groups created by inhabitants of planned communities, condominiums, or neighborhoods to administer and maintain communal areas and enforce certain rules and regulations.

These associations often charge residents fees to cover maintenance costs and to ensure that community guidelines are followed.

Examples of homeowners associations in Massachusetts include the Massachusetts Association of Community Associations (MACA) and the Community Associations Institute (CAI).

HOAs are critical for the preservation of property values, cultivating a feeling of community, and resolving common concerns.

These private entities are regulated by Massachusetts HOA laws and are also obligated to follow the guidelines set out in their own governing documents.

Massachusetts General Laws Applicable to Homeowners Associations

Here are some of the laws applicable to HOAs in Massachusetts:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Part II Title I Chapter 183A General Laws

There is no explicit statute in the state of Massachusetts that oversees homeowner's associations. However, condominium HOA legislation is included in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Part II Title I Chapter 183A General Legislation.

Massachusetts Condominium Statute

This law controls the establishment, maintenance, and functioning of condominium associations founded by filing a declaration or master deed with the local register of deeds.

Corporations for Charitable and Certain Other Purposes Law

In Massachusetts, the corporate framework and operation of HOAs are governed by this law. This is because most condominiums and homeowners associations in the state are established as corporations, which are incorporated entities.

General Provisions Relative to Real Property Law

This law contains several regulations regarding the execution of restrictive covenants, such as those based on sex, national origin, race, religion, solar energy limitations, and restricted provisions on community dwellings for disabled people.

Fair Housing Law

Massachusetts legislation safeguards the right of citizens to equal housing options regardless of their sexual orientation, race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, marital status, sex, veteran status, age, familial status, disability, or the receipt of public aid or housing assistance.

While the federal Fair Housing Act offers protection at a federal level, this law offers state-level protections.


In Massachusetts, a community association has the power to issue fines if a homeowner violates its bylaws. However, it's important to remember that these charges (for a single violation) are limited to $20.

Condominium associations, on the other hand, can levy greater fines. If assessments remain unpaid for a minimum of 60 days, a certified mail letter advising the property owner of the amount that is outstanding will need to be delivered.

Charges may include any payments levied by the association, such as late fees, penalties, fines, and interest.

What HOAs May Not Impose Fines for

Homeowners associations in Massachusetts are not permitted to issue fines or prohibit the display of the national flag (as long as this is done in accordance with the law) or political signs.

They are also not allowed to ban the installation of a solar energy system, solar panels, antennas, or satellite dishes.

Keep in mind, however, that HOAs are allowed to include general rules on how such items are to be placed to ensure that aesthetic standards are maintained.

Property Liens and Foreclosures

In Massachusetts, homeowners associations have the power to foreclose on a residence within its boundaries.

When a homeowner fails to pay their membership fees, the HOA has the authority to place a lien on his or her home. If a lien is not addressed, the community association may foreclose on the property.

It's important to remember that homeowners associations are not allowed to foreclose on real estate without sending a notice of delinquency to the unit owner first and offering him or her the opportunity to pay any outstanding dues.

The delinquency notification is to be delivered at least 60 days after the remaining charges are due.

About DoorLoop's HOA Management Software

Are you looking for a way to keep track of work orders, complete important accounting activities, and improve communication with residents and vendors? In that case, you need to sign up for a free demo to try DoorLoop!

Our HOA management software is designed to help you comply with local, state, and federal laws by allowing you to prepare budgets and financial records with ease. It also allows you to store them in one place and share them with members.

You can also use our property management software to accept and keep track of payments and send notices to community members. Plus, you get to try it out for yourself for free! To learn more, we encourage you to get in touch with us.

Closing Comments

Understanding and complying with the relevant state laws is important. Failing to do so could result in the association ending up in federal or state court.

Although we have provided a lot of information in this article, we encourage you to do additional research, as it would be impossible for us to list all the local, state, and federal laws that apply to HOAs here.

You should consider obtaining legal counsel to ensure that your homeowners or condominium association meets the requirements set out by these laws.

To learn about how our property management software can benefit your HOA, contact us today!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are HOA governing documents?

An HOA's governing documents will generally include its Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R), Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation. These documents define the organization's rules, regulations, and corporate structure.

Furthermore, certain neighborhoods might establish architectural guidelines or laws that are exclusive to their community, outlining permissible property alterations and aesthetics.

2. Why is it important to learn HOA law?

It's essential for HOA managers, board members, and executives to learn about local, federal, and state laws to ensure that their association meets the community regulations set by these laws.

The truth is that unit owners can file a private lawsuit against community associations for failing to meet the HOA rules and regulations set out by the laws of the land, so to avoid unnecessary legal expenses and penalties, HOA leadership must ensure that the association remains compliant.

3. Are HOA records considered public records?

In Massachusetts, governing documents are open to the public. To be legally binding, a homeowners association's governing documents must be recorded with the Commonwealth. To get these documents, you will need to go to the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

4. What powers do homeowners associations in Massachusetts have?

HOAs have the authority to access and maintain shared spaces in the community. They may also charge homeowners a monthly fee for the maintenance of common areas and are allowed to issue fines when members violate its rules and regulations.

Furthermore, if a member fails to pay their dues, a homeowners association in Massachusetts may place a lien on his or her property to secure the overdue amount. If the lien goes unaddressed, the HOA may foreclose on the home.

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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!