Vail Daily column: Homeowner association rules can be frustrating |

Vail Daily column: Homeowner association rules can be frustrating

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I am sick and tired of HOA regulations and want to find someplace that does not tell me what I can do with my own land. Why would anyone want an association to tell you what you can and cannot park on your own land? Don’t most people wish they could do whatever they want on their property? How do I find a place that does not have homeowner association dues and restrictions?

Dear Tired of HOA,

I understand your frustrations and questions, and yes, there are properties without HOA regulations and/or monthly or annual dues. Before we talk about where you can go to escape HOAs, let’s talk about the unintended consequences of not having HOA regulations and fees.

Not having regulations allows you to do anything the town and/or county you live in allows.

Not having regulations allows you to do anything the town and/or county you live in allows. Towns and counties have rules and zoning codes, but with the absence of HOA rules, they would be the sole source of your regulations. So you might be able to (for example) park your RV in your driveway all year and you might think this is good. Now, your neighbor might like to rebuild the engine in his old Mustang and his buddy might bring his Mustang over to work on too in your neighbor’s driveway. You might not like the look, noise and smell of this next to you, but you have no recourse if the town/county you are in has no regulation against this.

Your neighbor on the other side might decide it is too expensive to water his lawn so he lets it die and it turns into a dusty weed patch and the governing body might not have any ordinance about landscaping.

Now you get ready to sell your home. Your wonderful Realtor takes pictures of just your home so it looks good but when clients come to look, they hesitate in their car and then drive on by because they don’t like how the “neighborhood” looks. Do you think that you will get the full market value for your house in this situation? Do you think you would be able to get a higher price if there would have been covenants that kept all the houses and their yards looking neat and clean? If you have covenants and no dues (there still is at least one subdivision like this in the valley) then you have no money to enforce those covenants and they are of little or no value.

In short, homeowner association rules and regulations and the fees they charge often serve many good purposes that eventually end up protecting your property values.

Now, if you still want property with no covenants, then check with your knowledgeable Realtor about what areas of land do not have covenants. There are usually rural properties and/or the older parts of towns. But don’t forget that “no covenants” is a double edged sword and actually may not be exactly what you are looking for. Best of luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 and

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