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Real estate Q&A: How can I get my HOA to allow car covers?

Gary M. Singer, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: I recently moved and am now, for the first time, dealing with a homeowners association. I have a classic Cadillac that I used to keep covered at my previous residence. The rules in place at my new residence forbid car covers. Other nearby communities seem to allow covered cars, but not mine, so this rule was established by my association only. How can I get my car covered? — Mike

A: There are many good reasons to live in a community association. Planned developments have a specific look that many people find attractive, with good landscaping and design, and offer amenities, including everything from pools to clubhouses to golf courses. When deciding where to live, buyers decide on the lifestyle they want. To have the look and feel your neighborhood wants, rules were established that you agreed to abide by when you bought the house. And you might not like some of the established rules and need to balance the negatives with the reasons you choose to live there in the first place.

Your first step is to learn the rules for your community. You will need to do more than ask the property manager about the rules. Instead, get a copy of your community’s restrictions and other documents and read them.

What the board thinks the rules say and what the documents actually say can be different. I have encountered multiple communities with good intent, running things the way “it had always been done” even though the rules said something different. If you are in this situation, discuss the lack of authority with your property manager or board.


However, if the documents ban car covers, you will need to take a different approach.

The rules regulating your community are for the benefit of you and your neighbors, meaning you all have the power to change them if enough of your neighbors agree. Speak to your neighbors and see if there is consensus about changing the restrictions. If so, approach your board as a group and let them know you want to make the change.

Of course, depending on how important this issue is to you, you can sell your home and move to a community that better suits you.

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