In 2004, 55 million U.S. homeowners lived in communities managed by homeowners' associations, according to Bankrate.com. A homeowners' association is a unincorporated association or a nonprofit corporation that oversees the common property of a real estate development and is geared to maintaining property values.
When you buy property managed by a homeowners association, you are required to sign an agreement. This agreement is a binding contract which may spell out rules on things as varied as how the front lawn is landscaped to what color the mailbox is painted, whether you may fly a flag or put up a swing in the backyard.
As a homeowner you have certain rights within the association. These include the right to access common property such as pools, tennis courts or green spaces, enforce covenant rules directly affecting your property, use the disciplinary processes set up by association bylaws and challenge new association rules.
If something regarding your property is being challenged by the homeowners association or you feel someone is violating community covenants, first try to resolve the matter directly and without outside interference. If that is unsuccessful, you may contact a lawyer skilled at negotiating with homeowners associations.