Understanding Home Owners Association Rules for Tenants

It’s well-known that the owner of a property is legally obligated to follow the home owner association rules and codes of conduct. But what about the tenant? The tenant enters a lease agreement with the owner, which makes the tenant contractually bound to the owner. But there’s no contract between the tenant and the Homeowners Association. So is the tenant obliged to follow the home owner association rules and codes of conduct?


The short answer is: Yes.


If you’re a tenant living in a residential complex, you are required to abide by the Homeowner Association’s rules and regulations.


Consider the following case:

  • A residential complex had installed pre-paid meters for essential services. The Homeowners Association sold vouchers to its residents for these meters. Included in its rules and regulations was a provision that if any owner was in default of their obligation to pay an amount due to the HOA for more than two months, the HOA could refuse to sell prepaid vouchers for use with the prepaid meters in the unit belonging to the defaulter.
  • In one case, a unit was occupied by a tenant. Meanwhile, the HOA had imposed a fine on the owner for a breach of its rules – a fine that the owner flatly refused to pay. Two months later the amount was still outstanding. The homeowners association in turn refused to sell prepaid vouchers to the tenant.
  • The tenant was justifiably upset by this turn of events and approached the court for an order compelling the HOA to sell him the prepaid vouchers.
  • The court rejected the tenant’s application, holding in favour of the Home Owners Association. When he leased his residence in the complex, the tenant had agreed to be bound by the HOA rules and regulations.


The tenant’s recourse in this instance is not against the HOA, who the court found were acting within their rights. Rather, the tenant’s claim would be against his landlord, being the defaulting party in the matter. The nature of the tenant’s recourse would, of course, be dependent on the wording of the agreement of lease signed by the tenant. Hopefully his Lease Agreement made provision for a breach clause!

Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.