Navigating HOA laws in Virginia isn't easy if you haven't studied law. However, as a manager, executive, or board member, it's imperative that you have a good understanding of the relevant legislation to ensure that the homeowners' association you govern complies with the relevant local, state, and federal regulations.

To help you make sense of it all, we have drawn up this comprehensive guide. Here, we'll walk you through some of the most important acts, describe the rights and responsibilities of community associations, and much more.

Understanding Homeowners' Associations

Before we get into the complex legislation that you need to familiarize yourself with, let's first talk about what homeowners' and condominium associations are.

To put it simply, these non-government entities are implemented for the benefit of the community or neighborhood and are responsible for the maintenance and repair of shared spaces, such as clubhouses, parks, and swimming pools.

They are governed by numerous laws and regulations set out by government entities. However, these organizations are also governed by their own governing documents, which comprise a list of bylaws, in addition to other documents, such as the Declaration of Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&R).

A panel of directors called the HOA board governs each homeowners association in Virginia. Board members are elected or appointed to their positions. The board is in charge of governing the association, which includes tasks like collecting fees, enforcing regulations, and taking care of common facilities.

A board needs to understand the numerous Virginia HOA laws in place that relate to their communities. Failure to fully understand these regulations can have a number of implications. If an organization does not follow the law, it could face financial fines. Members may even file lawsuits against associations that violate state laws.

Common Interest Community Laws and Regulations

Next, we'll take a look at some of the most important community association laws that you will need to know about. This legislature governs the formation and operation of these associations, so it's important to pay careful attention to them.

However, keep in mind that it would be impossible to list every applicable law, so it's important that you do further research about other local, state, or federal laws that may apply.

Property Owners Association Act

The Property Owners Association Act (POAA) is a legal framework that regulates the formation and functioning of homeowners' associations in Virginia.

It explains both property owners and the association's rights and duties and outlines procedures for collecting association fees, conducting meetings, and enforcing rules and regulations. In addition, the legislation contains mechanisms for settling disputes and legal recourse in cases of non-compliance.

Virginia Condominium Act

This legislation governs the creation and governance of condominium associations. It is applicable to all horizontal property regimes, condominiums, projects involving condominiums, and other developments initiated after the first of July 1974.

Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act

In Virginia, most HOAs are incorporated as nonstock corporations and are therefore governed by the Nonstock Corporation Act in terms of their organizational makeup and procedures. It covers various topics, such as the association's right to hold meetings and sell its assets.

Virginia Common Interest Communities Law

This legislation establishes the common interest community ombudsman and the board of directors. It also details the requirements for manager licensing.

Virginia Fair Housing Law

According to this law, it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their familial status, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

The act is comparable to the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and provides state-level protection. Victims of unlawful discrimination with regard to housing have one year from the date of the unlawful act to submit a complaint with the HUD or the Virginia Department of Occupational and Regulation. They also have two years to file a private lawsuit against the offending party. 

Virginia Covenants Restricting Solar Energy Collection Devices

This act forbids Virginia HOAs from prohibiting a homeowner from setting up their own solar energy collection device within the boundaries of their property unless such a prohibition is expressly included in the community association's recorded statement.

Only reasonable limitations on the dimensions, location, and manner of placement of devices may be imposed.

Virginia Common Interest Community Ombudsman Regulations

The Virginia Common Interest Community Ombudsman Regulations deal with grievances from both association members and non-members of an HOA. Community associations in the state must establish processes for receiving and analyzing complaints under this regulation.

It can be found in Title 18, Chapter 70 of the Virginia Code and is divided into four sections.

Virginia Fair Debt Collection Act

The Virginia Debt Collection Act governs debt collection procedures in the state of Virginia. It is comparable to the National Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

This act prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unjust, abusive, or misleading practices when attempting to recover a debt. The FDCPA considers unpaid HOA assessments to be debts and homeowners to be protected consumers.

On the other hand, the HOA is not normally classified as a debt collector. This is typically true for homeowners associations that contract licensed management firms to collect their debts.

The Rights and Responsibilities Property Owners Associations Have

An HOA's principal goal is to maintain communal spaces and safeguard the value of homes within a neighborhood.

To acquire revenue for maintenance initiatives, the homeowner's association has the authority to collect periodical assessments or dues from residents in accordance with the yearly budget. All assessments can only be used to offer a service.

Special assessments may sometimes be necessary to cover extra upkeep expenditures not covered by the standard budget. These extra costs may be imposed by the board of directors if they believe it is in the best interests of the organization.

The board of directors has the exclusive power to set up, enact, and uphold rules and regulations for the use of shared spaces. Any modifications to the normal policy must be displayed in prominent places across the community and the common areas affected.

In addition, the common interest community board of directors is responsible for keeping accurate records of the association's finances. It's important to remember that members must have access to all records during reasonable business hours or at a mutually beneficial time.

On request, a yearly budget must be developed and provided to residents. Any adjustments to the budget for the upcoming calendar year must be communicated to members, and the board will also be responsible for preparing an annual report.

Fines for Non-compliance and Late Payments

HOAs in Virginia have the right to establish reasonable restrictions to maintain property values and ensure uniformity in the community. If a community member violates its rules and regulations, an HOA may impose a fine.

In Virginia, a HOA can punish a homeowner for breaking its regulations. The community association must notify the homeowner and provide a chance for him or her to correct the problem. Penalties or fines for violations are restricted to $50 for each offense or $10 per day for every ongoing violation for up to 90 days.

HOAs are also allowed to suspend an individual's right to make use of shared facilities or services if their dues are not paid for 60 days or more.

However, no homeowners association in Virginia may issue fines for or ban the following:

  • Solar energy panel installation (unless the recorded declaration explicitly restricts it)
  • Putting up the US national flag, provided it is done in accordance with the federal flag display law
  • Putting in charge facilities for electric vehicles
  • Setting up antennas and satellite dishes

Keep in mind that HOAs may include reasonable guidelines on the placement and use of the abovementioned elements.

Unpaid Assessments Could Lead to Foreclosure

Community associations in Virginia have the authority to foreclose on a member's home for overdue charges.

However, this may not be done before first sending a notice of delinquency via certified mail to the property owner in question and offering him or her the opportunity to pay any outstanding obligations.

Following notification, the association must give the delinquent member a minimum of 60 days to settle the outstanding amount, failing which the HOA will then have the right to sell the property.

A property owner can avoid foreclosure by paying the amount that they owe to the HOA plus all expenses it incurred throughout the foreclosure process.

Joining and Leaving Homeowners Associations in Virginia

Joining and leaving an HOA in Virginia is not optional. That means that if you move to an area that is governed by an established homeowners' association, you will be required to join.

When a new homeowner purchases a property in the community, the Realtor should provide him or her with the association's governing documents.

The only way a property owner can leave an HOA is if they sell their home or petition to have their property removed from the association. However, there is no guarantee that the petition will be granted.

How to Dissolve a Virginia Homeowners Association

The method for dissolving an HOA in Virginia is often included in the association's governing documents. If it is not, the common interest community board will need to recommend dissolution to the community members.

Following the submission of a proposal, members must be given adequate notice. The dissolution must be approved by more than two-thirds of all voters in order to be approved.

If the decision to dissolve is accepted, the members who voted in favor of the action will sign an agreement, dispose of the organization's assets, clear all outstanding debts, and file paperwork with the Virginia State Corporate Commission.

Addressing Complaints

Homeowners in Virginia can approach a number of organizations for assistance when they feel that they have been mistreated or charged unfair fees. They may also file a private lawsuit and take the case to a state or federal court.

This is why it's so important to ensure that you understand and comply with the relevant local, state, and federal laws, as infringements could result in legal action against the association. If the matter can be handled by mediation, it's always best to try and handle it in-house before a third party is involved.

Suppose you would like to know more about how to handle complaints and disputes. In that case, you can read the guide we have drawn up here.

About DoorLoop's HOA Tools

The truth is that managing an HOA is never easy. There are often many mundane tasks to complete, such as tracking expenses and preparing financial statements, that can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Fortunately, DoorLoop's innovative software has been designed to help streamline your day-to-day tasks, making the operation of a homeowners' association much easier.

HOA management software is intended to keep your homeowners association in compliance with Virginia legislation and to assist you in keeping track of critical information.

With DoorLoop's revolutionary software, you can collect HOA fees, save important documents, oversee maintenance practices, resolve issues, and much more.

Furthermore, if you need help with bookkeeping, DoorLoop's unique features and user-friendly platform make performing critical accounting functions a pleasure.

Besides, with world-class support, affordable packages, and an incredibly easy-to-use interface, there's no reason not to try it! To learn more about our intuitive property management software or get a free demo to try it out, get in touch with us today!

Closing Comments

As the manager, executive, or board member of a homeowners' association in Virginia, it is your responsibility to ensure that you remain up to date on the applicable legislation.

Although we have given you a comprehensive overview of many relevant common interest community laws, it is important that you look up additional local ordinances that may apply to your HOA in Virginia.

If you need help to streamline your operations, you can turn to DoorLoop to automate those mundane tasks and improve your overall efficiency. Try it out risk-free by booking your free demo!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I find Virginia HOA regulations?

In Virginia, a homeowners association's governing documents are typically considered public records but must be filed with the county land records to be considered legitimate. You can access them by visiting your local county clerk's office. 

In some cases, these documents can be obtained online through the Virginia State Corporation Commission Clerk's website.

2. Who governs homeowners associations in Virginia?

HOAs are subject to a number of state, federal, and local laws and are governed by a common interest community board that creates and enforces certain rules and regulations contained in the HOA's governing documents.

3. What is the average amount paid to HOAs for maintenance each year?

On average, homeowners spend between $600 to $1,500 in assessments annually. However, it's important to remember that fees will vary from one organization to the next and will depend on the type and nature of maintenance required.

4. Can HOAs in Virginia enter a member's property?

There is no law in Virginia that authorizes a community association to enter a member's private property.

However, homeowners associations can include provisions in their governing documents to allow an HOA to enter private property to conduct maintenance as needed. HOAs are generally required to provide homeowners with sufficient notice prior to entry. 

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!