In hot water with your HOA? A new law buys you time to fix the problem

(Credit: Fluxfoto)

The Gist 

Georgia homeowners living in communities governed by homeowners’ associations now get time to fix a covenant violation before the HOA can take legal action, thanks to legislation signed into law Monday.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 220 at the Capitol, continuing his flurry of bill-signings across the state. To date, Kemp has signed about three dozen bills since sine die, which marked the end of the 2024 legislative session, his spokesman Garrison Douglas told State Affairs. Sine die ended in the early hours of March 29. The governor has until May 7 to sign, veto or take no action on a bill. If he takes no action, the bill automatically becomes law.

What’s Happening

HB 220 requires community-governed associations to notify in writing a home or condo owner of a covenant breach —  such as painting their house a color not approved by the association, and give them time to fix it before going to court or taking some other legal action.

Rep. Rob Leverett, R-Elberton, sponsored the bill which included parts of an HOA bill promoted by Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta. James had been trying for two years to get some HOA-related legislation passed. 

While the HOA portion of HB 220 does not go as far as James’ proposed single legislation, it’s a start, she and others say.

Why It Matters 

An overwhelming majority of new subdivisions being built in Georgia now will have HOAs, experts told State Affairs. In fact, new homes that are part of a homeowner association are growing fastest in the southern and western part of the United States. An estimated 2.2 million, roughly 22%, Georgia residents live in a building or home overseen by anHOA or some other type of community association, according to the Community Association Institute.

Lawmakers such as James have heard complaints in which HOAs have terrorized homeowners and threatened to take their property, all while homeowners have had little to no legal options. In some cases, homeowners have lost their homes after falling behind on HOAs fees, even if they never missed a mortgage payment.

What’s Next?

While HB 220 is now law, Senate Resolution 37 has yet to be appointed. The resolution, sponsored by James, creates the Senate Property Owners’ Associations, Homeowners’ Associations, and Condominium Associations Study Committee. Committee members will be appointed by the President of the Senate, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones.

Lawmakers appointed to the committee will delve further into HOA issues before presenting recommendations to the Legislature when it convenes in January.

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Have questions? Contact Tammy Joyner on X @lvjoyner or at [email protected].

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