Do you hold a leadership position in a homeowners association (HOA) in Pennsylvania? If that's the case, then you have come to the right place. Having a good understanding of the legal framework set out by state law is important to the success of such organizations.

However, a quick Google search will tell you that there aren't many articles that provide a good overview of the applicable laws. This guide aims to do just that.

Here, we'll offer insight into the rights and responsibilities of HOAs in Pennsylvania, talk about the state laws that govern homeowners associations, and answer some of the most-asked questions about Pennsylvania HOA laws.

What Are Homeowners Associations?

Homeowners associations, which are also known as community or unit owners' associations, are private groups that are formed by the community for the common good.

These organizations are responsible for maintaining common areas, enforcing bylaws, and ensuring that architectural standards are upheld to increase property values.

A common interest community is regulated by state law and implements rules and regulations as stipulated in its own internal documents. An association's governing documents generally include the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.

The Rights and Responsibilities of Common Interest Communities

Unit owners associations in the state of Pennsylvania have a duty to create and implement community regulations, collect assessments, and take care of shared spaces and amenities.

They are also responsible for maintaining financial records and ensuring that these records are readily available to members.

Furthermore, these associations must ensure transparency and fair voting for all members. The association is required to respect its fiduciary responsibilities, follow federal, local, and state laws, and offer due process in enforcement actions.

HOAs in Pennsylvania also have the right to issue fines to homeowners who violate its rules and regulations and fail to pay their dues on time. In the event that assessments go unpaid, Pennsylvania law allows the HOA to foreclose on a delinquent homeowner's property.

An Overview of Pennsylvania HOA Laws

Understanding HOA state regulations is essential for managers, board members, and executives to ensure compliance, fair administration, and efficient oversight of the community. In the section below, we'll provide an overview of such laws.

Uniform Planned Community Act (UPCA)

The Uniform Planned Community Act, which is located in Title 68 of Chapters 51 through 54 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, governs homeowner's associations in the state of Pennsylvania.

This statute pertains to all planned communities that have over 12 units. It establishes HOA responsibilities for homeowners associations when managing these neighborhoods.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Cooperative Act

This act provides a legal framework for the operation of real estate cooperatives in the state of Pennsylvania. It offers insight into the general purpose of such organizations.

Pennsylvania Human Relations Act

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act was passed to safeguard Pennsylvania residents from unfair treatment with regard to public accommodation, employment, and housing. Therefore, no planned community is permitted to discriminate against a homeowner or potential homeowner.

According to this act, housing discrimination based on the factors mentioned below is illegal.

  • Ancestry
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Familial status
  • Color
  • Disability (or the use or training of a guide or support animal)
  • Sex
  • Age

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) are designed to offer protection at the federal level, while the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act provides state-level protections.

Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporations Act

This legislation is designed to regulate the corporate structure and practices of those associations that are established as non-profit corporations. To determine whether an HOA is a non-profit organization, you can go to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act (UCA)

The Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act is applicable to condominiums that were established after its implementation date (which is 120 days from the second of July 1980).

Certain clauses, however, extend to all condominium associations, irrespective of their founding date, as long as the activities alluded to transpired after the act went into effect.

Unit Owners Association Fees and Fines

The law grants executive board members the right to collect fees from homeowners to cover their expenses. In the event that a member fails to pay their dues on time, the HOA may impose fines. These associations are also allowed to fine a unit owner who has violated its rules and regulations.

However, it's important to remember that before levying a fine, HOAs are required to provide the homeowner the chance to be heard. Details such as the type of fine, the amount, and notice requirements, will be noted in the association records.

Furthermore, homeowners associations in Pennsylvania are not allowed to prohibit or restrict community members from displaying the US national flag, provided it is exhibited in accordance with federal legislation.

HOAs are also not allowed to restrict the installation of antennas and satellite dishes. 

About DoorLoop's HOA Management Software

Our user-friendly HOA administration software is specifically designed to make administering an HOA and enforcing rules easier. With DoorLoop, you'll have all you need on one intuitive platform that can be accessed from just about any device.

This means that whether you need to send notices while on the go or track work orders remotely, DoorLoop allows you to do just that and so much more.

Plus, you get access to a comprehensive set of accounting tools to ensure transparency and a communication portal to liaise with vendors and members.

You can test it out first with a FREE demo or learn more by contacting our team.

Final Remarks

The truth is that managing a homeowners association is not easy. There are so many laws to take note of, and without the proper knowledge, your HOA could face a private lawsuit or penalties.

This article has provided a general overview, but to ensure that your association truly meets the standards mentioned in these acts, additional study is required.

You will also need to take these laws and implement them effectively, and DoorLoop is here to help you do just that. To learn more about our HOA management tools, get in touch with us today!


What powers does a common interest community in Pennsylvania have?

HOAs in the state have the authority to regulate shared spaces, collect fees to find its maintenance practices, issue fines and penalties for failing to pay or violating the association's rules and regulations, and foreclose on a property because of non-payment.

Do homeowners associations need an independent election reviewer to ensure fair voting?

According to Act 115, an independent election reviewer is only necessary when a community comprises 500 units or more.

Can an HOA foreclose on a home because of unpaid assessments?

Yes. HOAs in Pennsylvania have the power to foreclose on a delinquent homeowner's property.

Is HOA membership mandatory in Pennsylvania?

Yes. In Pennsylvania, if an individual buys a property in an area with an established homeowner's association, they must join and follow its HOA rules.

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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!