Category Archives: noise ordinances

Holiday decor

Holiday Decor Rules in Your HOA

The months of November and December are filled with holidays and religious events that are joyously observed by multiple religions around the globe. In fact, celebrations including Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas, and New Years, make for a very busy couple of months. 

With this being the case, now is a good time as ever to review with your community members or tenants your expectations for holiday decor, especially if decorating rules are a part of your association rules. 

Let’s take a closer look at how cheery seasonal decorations can be balanced with our world’s beautiful diversity to accommodate all the religions and traditions. Here are some decorating tips that will benefit most HOA residents, tenants, and board members.

Holiday decor

Assess Your Timing 

We know that a lot of people love to start celebrating the holidays right after the Halloween candy has been handed out. Be sure to consult with your community or association rules to determine when decorations are allowed and when they are due to be taken down. 

Most communities have a specific timeline to follow according to the CC&Rs. A common rule is to put them up no earlier than a month before the holiday and take them down no later than two weeks afterward. Some communities, however, have rules about putting decorations up after Thanksgiving and taking them down by the first week of January. 

The best scenario is to check with your association or property management team about what the timeline is for your area. 

Avoid Excessive Lights & Noise

Communities are meant to be enjoyed by all who reside there. So be mindful of any excessive blinking lights or decorations that make noise, sing songs, or are too flashy. 

Many homeowners associations only allow a certain length of light strands, such as up to 200 feet. There may also be restrictions on when lights or music may be playing. For example, all lighted displays may need to be turned off by 9pm. It’s a good idea to put these on a timer to help you maintain the adherence to the community decor rules. 

Avoid Negative & Offensive Decor 

In this world where politics and religion can be sensitive subjects, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and place positive and uplifting decorations on your property. Avoid any decor that may offend your neighbors or cause issues during the holiday season. 

Violations that impact HOA rules may mean your decorations will need to be adjusted or removed altogether. 

Consider Safety Protocols 

When placing your holiday decorations be sure to check all wires and equipment for safety purposes. Your HOA or property maintenance team may need to take a quick look to be sure there are no fire safety issues with excessive plugs or frayed wires. 

What are the holiday decor rules in your community? Drop us a note this holiday season and let us know how your celebrations are going! 


student reading library book

The Pros and Cons of Renting to College Students

Is your rental property located in a college town? If so, you may be considering opening up your rental units to students who attend classes at the neighboring college or university. If you have doubts about renting to a less mature group, be sure to know the perks that you may be missing out on if you pass up this opportunity. Is renting to college students in your best financial interest? 

College students often come with a bad rap, but there are some key factors that may balance out the risk of renting to this group. Read on to find out what college renters are looking for and whether this rental relationship may be advantageous or conversely, disastrous for your and your property. 

college lecture hall

What College Age Students Are Looking for in a Rental

According to the College Board, 44% of college students live off campus. That translates into millions of students looking for housing each and every year. In the college saturated region of New England, college towns dot the map from Maine to Connecticut and can provide a huge chunk of revenue for small towns and big cities alike. 

College students are often looking to live off campus in residential housing in later years of college in order to spread their wings and potentially save a little bit on room and board costs. They search for characteristics such as:


  • Proximity to campus
  • Affordability
  • Proximity to public transit
  • Walkability
  • Security of the neighborhood
  • Laundry facilities
  • Access to Wi-Fi

Benefits to Renting To College-Aged Students 

Given the list above, the property’s location, and amenities granted by your rental unit(s), you may be in a position to benefit by opening up your rental agreements to college students attending school nearby. 

High Demand 

To start with, the demand and stability of rentals in college towns or cities is constantly high. The turnover every year and the fresh load of students means you will rarely have a vacancy. With thousands of students on the hunt for vacancies you will be able to fill your rentals easily every year. 

Higher Rent Yield 

The housing market is all about supply and demand. With the demand for college town rentals incredibly high, owners or property managers can generate higher cash flow than traditional investment properties. According to Fortune Builders, an average house near a college town can yield 30-40% higher rents than the same house five miles away.

Lower Marketing Costs 

Renting an apartment or multiple units in some areas can be costly. Advertising in newspapers and online can add up to a significant cost depending upon your turnover rate. With college students competing for rental, you will not need to invest as much in your advertising budget. 

university building

Risks of Renting To College Students 

The risks or disadvantages to renting to students that are less mature run the gamut from being late with payments to noise complaints. Here are a few things to take into consideration when weighing the pros and cons of renting to this group. 

  • Increased risk of damage that will need repairs. 
  • No rental or credit history to access prior to approving a rental agreement. 
  • Potential noise complaints. 
  • Potential late or missed payments. 
  • Frequent turnover at the end of each school year. 
  • Potential local regulations. 

Deciding to rent to college students can be a complex one. Be sure to do your due diligence as to looking into local regulations as well as those required by the neighboring schools. In the end, do your research and plan knowing the best and the worst of what it could be like when opening your units to college-aged students. 


city street

Common Condo Community Rules 

Looking for your next home? Maybe you are downsizing, hoping to avoid the lawn maintenance, or want less upkeep for items like the roof, furnace, or other high priced utilities. Whatever way you look at it, condo living may be a good choice for your lifestyle. Before you begin hunting for a condominium community, there are some community rules that you may want to be aware of before signing on the dotted line. 

condo living room

What is an HOA? 

A homeowners association or HOA is the ruling board over any community living area. A homeowners association makes and enforces rules for multiple-unit buildings like condominiums and townhouses, or possibly planned communities of single-family homes. If you own a property within an HOA, you automatically become a member. In becoming a member, you agree to abide by the rules and regulations and to pay dues, known as HOA fees. An HOA will usually have its rules in a document called a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R). (Source: BankRate

landscaped birch trees

Common Rules of an HOA

When you become a member of any HOA, the rules are clearly spelled out for all community members. While these rules can, and do, differ from one community to the next, there are usually some fairly common rules to be aware of. Here are just a few that you will want to investigate as you begin your home search. 

Landscaping Rules: 

Most HOAs want a community to have a certain uniform appearance from one unit to the next. In order to have this, there are usually rules about the landscaping that is, (and isn’t) allowed around your unit.  For instance, there may be restrictions on how many plants you can have at your front door, or any decorations you may be allowed to have adorning your front entryway. 

Parking & Vehicle Rules: 

Homeowners associations usually have rules related to cars, including how many vehicles you can have on your property, where those vehicles can park, and what type of vehicles you can have. For example, if you own a boat, RV, or use a work vehicle, you may be required to park it in a different lot or not on the property at all. Remember to consult your bylaws before you buy to avoid not being able to park your work vehicle in the community lot. 

Pet Mandates: 

Most HOAs have very specific rules about allowing pets. If your community does allow dogs or other pets, there may be rules that require the pets be a certain size or breed. Again, check with your local HOA about how this could impact your fur-friend and your living arrangements. 

In addition to requirements about the type and size of pets allowed, most HOAs have noise and nuisance rules about where pets are allowed on the property as well as rules about picking up pet waste and leashing said pets. 

Decoration Guidelines: 

Are you one that really enjoys decorating for each season or holiday? If you are, you may want to check the governing documents regarding what is allowed for outdoor or visible decor for your unit. Some HOAs allow decorations during a few weeks a year while others have limits on the amount and placement of decorations. Still, others require that all decorations are kept inside each unit. 

Check with your community HOA board before you invest in a condo community. You will want to know the requirements and guidelines for your specific living area so there are no surprises. What are the common rules in your condo community? Leave us a note in the comments or on our Facebook page


fitness center man working out

Common Problems in Common Areas 

As community members, we love our common areas. These areas in any condominium association tend to be the amenities we cherish so much such as the walkways, tennis courts, fitness centers, pool areas, entertaining/fire pit areas, and gardens. Unfortunately, with every common area there are some pretty typical problems, especially in a community living situation. 

conference room

Cleaning Up 

Common areas are meant to be used by all who live in the condo association. It may also be permissible for these areas to be used by unit owner’s and their guests, depending upon the HOA rules in your association. 

While sharing these spaces makes it nice for all to enjoy the amenities, it also means that cleaning up should be done by all. Usually every association allows for an outside vendor to complete regular cleanings either weekly or bi weekly for trash and general cleaning. However, the day-to-day cleaning should be done by those who use the spaces. For instance, if you head to the pool, tennis courts, or fitness area, be sure to carry out any trash that you brought in. Put items back where you found them and tidy up the space you used. 

Locking Up 

If your community has a key or coded entry for each amenity and common area, you will want to make sure that once you have used the area, that you lock the location. This means that homeowners should ensure that no people outside the community can gain access to common areas without permission. It is actually a safety measure that can ensure the protection of all who live in the community. Your HOA may have specific rules about when each common area can be accessed and what the lock up procedures are for each area. Please try to follow those. 

man with finger to mouth

Noise Level 

Noise ordinances vary from community to community. Check with your association about what your obligations are in regard to having music, entertainment, or loud parties in any common areas in your community. The rules may designate hours when music or guests are permitted, or it may mention distinct noise levels. A general rule to follow is to check with neighbors and others who are using the common area if the noise level is acceptable. 

Pet Problems

In addition to dealing with clean up, locking up, and handling the general noise level, every community member should be sensitive to the rules of common areas when it comes to pets. Review whether they are allowed in common areas and if they are what rules apply. For instance, does Fido need to be on a leash, is there a designated time that permits pets on walking paths, or are there specific guidelines for your community? Check with your HOSA before you allow your pet into a common area. 

For more articles on common areas and issues that may arise in your community, check out our website or articles on our Facebook page.

be quiet

What Are Common Noise Ordinances In An Association? 

The duties of a Homeowners Association are commonly wide-ranging and include decisions on when to make repairs, improvements, and additions. Associations also establish rules and regulations to control aesthetics and unwelcome behavior. Among the common rules and regulations are noise ordinances that help keep association members from annoying neighbors with loud footsteps, barking dogs, or music. 

A noise complaint is often referred to as a “nuisance complaint.” That type of complaint is usually an activity that unreasonably interferes with the use or quiet enjoyment of another resident of their separate unit or exclusive use common areas. 

loud noiseWhat Causes Noise Complaints? 

The most common complaint in relation to noise is usually caused by hard surface flooring. When surfaces such as wood, tile, or stone are used, it can amplify noises related to walking, moving furniture, exercise regimens, and play activities. If your association is one that has units stacked on top of each other, this could be a major problem. Most associations have moved to using carpeted flooring to buffer noises from neighboring units.

Another frequent cause of noise complaints to an HOA board are the sounds that come from a parking lot. Cars, motorcycles, and trucks can be noisy. No one wants to be woken by the sound of a revving motor or screeching brakes. 

Then there are also noise complaints that center around general living noises such as: barking dogs, noisy televisions, and parties. These nuisance events could occur regularly or could be “one-offs.”

give feedback What Can You Do About A Noise Complaint? 

Unfortunately, noise is something that is somewhat difficult to define, and even harder to prove. Often, if a complaint is made to an HOA that involves only one neighbor, the situation could be a neighbor-to-neighbor conflict. If numerous complaints are filed with the HOA about recurring noises, then the board can usually act. 

The first action an association member should take is to ask the person creating the noise about the situation in a calm and rational manner. It is highly possibly the person may not be aware that the noise is disturbing other association members. 

If an association member doesn’t feel comfortable doing this s/he should then ask the board for clarification about the noise ordinances. Often the board will put out a reminder about loud cars, parties, and common area noise to the entire association before taking action against a particular unit.

If the noise issue does not get resolved, the board and the association members may request mediation. Here is where things get tricky. Does the noise ordinance proclamation supercede the local or municipal ordinances regarding noise? Each area is different, so you will need to check with your board to see how it works in your area. 

Check out the common noise ordinances in your area and let us know how noise complaints are handled in your associations. Leave us a comment below or check us out on our social media