Under What Circumstances can the HOA or COA Refuse an Owner Access to Recreational Facilities

An association can temporarily remove the usage privileges to recreational facilities as punishment or discipline for a violation of the governing documents. An example could be for non-payment of association dues. This is only allowed if the governing documents do not specifically prohibit it, and the board has adopted the discipline policy in advance. Notice of the policy should be provided to all owners in advance, and the violating owner given notice of the violation before the recreational facilities usage privileges are removed. There should be a written policy in place that specifically outlines the procedure.

Some state laws allow associations to pursue renters, not just landlords, for overdue fees. This means that if the owner doesn’t pay, the renter would need to cover the deficit to have access to the recreational facilities.

An association may charge fees for the use of recreational facilities provided the charge applies equally to all owners. Access could be refused without payment. This assumes that this type of fee is not specifically prohibited by governing documents.

Sometimes when the Association enforces a rule or restriction, they can unknowingly be in violation of either the federal Fair Housing Act or their state’s anti-discriminatory laws.

Some direct discrimination examples are obvious:

  • Refusing people of a particular religious faith to use the community amenities.
  • Prohibiting residents of a particular race from living in the association.

Other discriminatory examples may be subtle, even if the Board has acted according to the governing documents.

  • Adult Only Swim Time.
  • No One Under Age 18 May Use the Pool Without Parent or Guardian.
  • Children that are Not Potty-Trained Are Prohibited from Using Pool.
  • No Children Playing in the Common Area.

All of the above examples have been ruled to be discriminatory.