Homeowners association (HOA) managers, board members, and executives are required to have a working knowledge of the relevant legislation to keep the HOA out of state or federal court. However, navigating the complex arena of Montana HOA laws can seem incredibly daunting, especially if you don't know where to start.

In this article, we provide insight into state and federal laws to ensure that you are not left in the dark when managing your homeowner association.

What Are Homeowners Associations?

Let's start with a simple description of homeowner associations. These non-government entities are designed to uphold certain standards and ensure a good overall quality of life for all its members.

To do this, the association will collect HOA fees to maintain and repair shared facilities and amenities. Homeowners associations also enforce their own bylaws that regulate architectural modifications, landscaping, and more to maintain uniformity and protect property values.

They are subject to the laws set out by the national government, the state, and the county where the association is located. These entities are also regulated by their own governing documents, which help to establish order within the organization and in the community as a whole.

State and Federal Laws You Should Know About

Here are some of the laws and regulations that a homeowners association must comply with:

Montana Nonprofit Corporation Act

Montana does not have a dedicated statute that governs it. However, most HOA regulations are found in this act.

Nonprofit corporations in the state of Montana are governed by the Montana Nonprofit Corporation Act in terms of their organizational makeup and operations.

If an association chooses to be incorporated as a nonprofit corporation, as the majority of Montana HOAs and COAs are, it will have to follow the guidelines in this act. To determine an HOA's corporate status, you will need to get in touch with the Montana Secretary of State.

Montana Unit Ownership Act

This law controls the setting up, leadership, authority, and activity of condominium associations that decide to be regulated by it by registering a declaration in the local county recorder's office.

Montana Property Code (Servitudes, Easements, and Covenants Running with the Land)

The Montana Property Code contains various clauses controlling property rights, such as wind energy rights, servitude, solar energy rights, and homeowners' association restrictions.

Montana Human Rights Act

Like the federal Fair Housing Act, the Montana Human Rights Act protects residents in the state against housing discrimination.

According to this act, housing opportunities must be equally available regardless of religion, color, disability, familial status, marital status, gender, national origin, age, or creed. 

Fines, Liens, and Foreclosures

Homeowners associations in Montana may levy fines on homeowners who break HOA laws. The amount, type, and requirements for notification will typically be included in the HOA's governing documents.

In the event that a community member fails to pay their dues, a homeowners association has the right to place a lien on their home, which could ultimately lead to foreclosure.

However, managers and board members must remember that the law makes it illegal to prohibit the use of certain items. This includes the following:

  • Displaying political signs and the national flag
  • Installing antennas, satellite dishes, and solar energy systems

About DoorLoop's HOA Management Tools

Do you need help ensuring that your community association complies with the relevant legislation? You can count on DoorLoop's HOA management software to do just that!

Our software includes intuitive features, such as:

  • Accounting tools
  • A communication portal
  • Storage options to ensure that records are retained for the specified period
  • Assessment collection and tracking capabilities

...and so much more!

With DoorLoop, you can rest assured that you're getting great value for money. Book your free demo today, or contact us to learn more about our innovative property management software!

Final Remarks

It is vital that you understand and follow the applicable state legislation when managing a homeowners association in Montana.

Failure to do so may result in legal repercussions and penalties. We recommend that you do further study because it would not be possible for us to cover all of the laws that pertain to HOAs in one article.

You might want to think about hiring an attorney to make sure that your association complies with the regulations set out by the state. Contact us today to learn more about how our property management software could benefit your association!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a disgruntled homeowner take an HOA to state or federal court?

Yes. If HOAs in Montana are found to be violating federal or state laws, property owners could choose to file a private lawsuit against them.

2. Where can I find HOA records?

To find HOA governing documents, you can go to the local county clerk, approach the homeowners association directly, or conduct a search on the Montana Secretary of State's website.

3. Can an HOA foreclose on a home in Montana?

Yes. If a homeowner fails to pay their assessments, an HOA can place a lien on their home. Should the owner ignore the lien, the association can foreclose on their property.

4. What are governing documents?

Community documents are the legal and administrative documents that control how an HOA runs and manages the community it supervises. These documents provide bylaws, regulations, and more.

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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!