Home owners’ associations (HOAs) are the epitome of a love-hate relationship. If these organizations had a Facebook page, the relationship status would read “it’s complicated.”
While HOAs protect the value of your neighborhood through rules and bylaws that stop things like bright neon houses and broken lawn mowers being stored in the front yard, they can limit your eclectic landscaping, use fees on vague “upgrades” and place boundaries on external home security measures. Let’s not even broach the subject of approval processes.
Navigating the bylaws of an HOA and meeting your home’s security needs can be a delicate process, but it’s a conversation that needs to happen if you want to reduce your risk of break-ins and burglary. Before starting a dialogue with your HOA, do these three things:
Know the bylaws of your HOA: This is something you should not trust the internet to tell you. If you are living in a community with an HOA, you have signed (probably multiple) documents agreeing to the restrictions and rules enforced by an HOA committee. Get your hands on the actual regulations and read them! Yes, it will be a bit monotonous but it’s necessary; this is where you will learn what you have already agreed to and what permissions you can request.
For example, signage may be allowed if it is placed within six feet of your front door. Or you may find out that drilling into a brick wall to install video surveillance equipment is allowed only if the action is performed by a professional installation company. Understanding the bylaws of your HOA will give you a starting point to begin securing your property.
Assess current security efforts: Did you know environmental design is a tried and true method of crime prevention? Open areas such as a cul-de-sac or front-and-center dog walk area create natural surveillance due to the active human presence. These locations receive more traffic than secluded streets or back lots so HOA’s may choose to focus their security efforts on areas that produce hiding spots and cover for criminals. Determine if your property is fully covered and what you would need to do to fill the gaps in home protection.
Determine the right security measures: Not every security option is ideal for every situation and you certainly don’t want to duplicate anything you are already paying for in your HOA dues. If the HOA maintains lamp posts linked to motion sensors, installing your own may be unnecessary. The right security methods can give you control over your environment and even increase property value.
By nature, the partnership with an HOA can be stressful, but being prepared and realistic in your requests are the ideal starting point. Understand the HOA and the rules that govern your community. HOAs have an intrinsic nature to protect your homes’ value, so you are in this together! No one is saying you should update your Facebook relationship status to married, but you could at least change it to “in a relationship.”
Source: Electronic Security Association