If you want to ensure that your homeowners association (HOA) complies with the relevant legislature, you'll need to start by familiarizing yourself with these laws. In this article, we'll shed some light on state and federal laws to provide some direction as you build your knowledge base.

What Is a Homeowners Association, Anyway?

A homeowners association, also known as a community or property owners association, is a private entity that governs common interest communities.

It works for the betterment of the neighborhood and boosts property values by conducting regular maintenance and repairs and enforcing certain rules and regulations to regulate the aesthetic qualities of the community.

These organizations have a set of governing documents that define these rules. They typically consist of the following:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions

An Overview of Ohio HOA Laws

The following state laws from the Ohio Revised Code regulate community associations in Ohio:

Ohio Planned Community Law

The Ohio Planned Community Act applies to all homeowners associations in Ohio. It governs the authority, management, creation, and functioning of community associations.

This legislation stipulates that every organization must file a declaration and bylaws with the relevant county recorder's office in the district where the HOA is situated.

Ohio Nonprofit Corporation Law

The Ohio Nonprofit Corporation Law regulates HOAs that are classified as nonprofit organizations in terms of organizational structure and processes. If an HOA is a non-profit, as most are in Ohio, it will be regulated by this legislation.

Ohio Condominium Property Act

If the association manages a condominium, it will be subject to the rules and regulations stipulated in this act. It covers matters related to the creation, authority, day-to-day operation, and management of condominium associations.

Prohibited Debt Collector Communications and Conduct Act

This law governs debt collection at a state level and includes rules comparable to those found in the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

The act forbids debt collectors from engaging in abusive, unjust, or misleading debt collection techniques. HOA fees are classified as "debts" under the FDCPA, so HOAs will be subject to this legislation. Homeowners are referred to as "consumers" in this act.

Ohio Fair Housing Law

Housing discrimination in Ohio is strictly prohibited, and the state offers protection for homeowners. HOAs are not allowed to discriminate against homeowners or potential homeowners based on the following: 

  • Color
  • Military status
  • Ancestry
  • Race
  • Gender
  • familial status
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Disability

This legislation implements state-level safeguards afforded by the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Federal Laws You Should Know About

In addition to these state laws, there are also federal laws that apply:

  • Federal Flag Display Law. This law specifies how the US national flag may be displayed.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act. Those who are disabled have federal protections, as provided in this act.
  • Federal Fair Housing Act. This act offers federal-level protections against housing discrimination. Any discriminatory act with regard to housing opportunities will be punishable under this law.
  • Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Under this law, consumers are protected at the federal level from unfair practices pertaining to debt recovery.

Keep in mind that there may also be local laws set by different counties, so board members, managers, and executives must do further research to learn more.

Fines and Foreclosure

In Ohio, homeowners associations can charge an individual for payment delays, rule violations, and property damage. The HOA's governing documents regulate procedures, types, and values of fines.

However, it's important to keep in mind that no homeowners association in Ohio may prohibit the following:

  • Raising the US national, state, or the POW/MIA flag as long as it complies with federal flag legislation
  • Putting up a flagpole to showcase the abovementioned flags
  • Setting up satellite dishes and antennas

The governing documents of a homeowners' association may incorporate fair regulations and rules addressing the location, method, and display of these devices. 

Moreover, HOAs in Ohio have the right to place a lien on a home if a member refuses to pay their overdue assessments. This could ultimately lead to foreclosure.

About DoorLoop's Intuitive HOA Management Tools

If you are struggling to comply with the applicable legislature or find it challenging or expensive to manage day-to-day operations, then you need DoorLoop. With a comprehensive set of features, affordable plans, and world-class customer support, you can rest assured that you're investing in software that will add value.

Whether you need to complete important accounting functions or simply improve communication with vendors and community members, you can count on DoorLoop to provide a comprehensive solution. The best part is that you can try it out for free!

To find out more about our HOA management software or schedule a free demo, contact us today.

Closing Comments

Now that you understand the relevant laws, it's time to implement them in your HOA. If you need help with this, you can turn to DoorLoop, software that's designed to help with your record-keeping, accounting, communication, document storage, and so much more!

Schedule your free demo today to experience our software for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a dispute between an HOA and a homeowner go to federal district court?

Yes. Homeowners can challenge homeowners associations in state or federal district court by hiring a lawyer and filing a private lawsuit. This is why it is important for all those who hold management positions in an HOA to have a good understanding of the relevant local, federal, and state laws.

2. Is it mandatory to join a homeowners association in Ohio?

In Ohio, if a person purchases a property regulated by a HOA, they must become a member and follow the association's rules. Once sold, the homeowner's Realtor should hand out documentation to clarify the HOA's rules.

If a person purchases a home in an area with a community association, they cannot simply decide to leave. They may only leave an HOA by selling their home or requesting that their home be removed from the HOA. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that this petition will be granted.

3. Can Ohio HOAs foreclose on a home due to unpaid assessments?

Yes, HOAs are permitted to place a lien on a property for unpaid dues in planned communities. If the homeowner does not address the lien, it could lead to the foreclosure of his or her home.

4. How are Ohio HOAs dissolved?

In Ohio, the procedure for dissolving an HOA may be outlined in the association's governing documents. If it is not, the board will need to obtain a majority vote from the members. 

A certificate must be submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State whenever a resolution of dissolution is enacted. In addition to this declaration, invoices demonstrating that all staff members and taxes have been paid must be submitted.

A signed statement stating the effective date of dissolution will also need to be provided. The association will be declared dissolved once the applicable paperwork is filed.

Free Downloads


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!