HOA trying to limit interior decor. Can they do this?

33 Replies

In my non expert opinion, they are incorrect in using this clause as the basis for their argument. Limited common elements would include a hallway that connects two unit to the outside of the building, but is not accessible by other unit owners. The floor in the owner's condo should not be included as a limited common element.

Of course, many condos do have rules which state that upstairs units must cover a certain percentage of their floors with carpet, so it may just be a matter of time until the bylaws get changed.

Originally posted by @Anthony Rosa :

When I lived in a NYC Co-op we had bylaws to follow.  We could paint whatever color we choose but any type of construction work had to be approved by the board and the contractor licensed and insured.  

One specific general rule was that 70% of the unit had to be padded and carpeted (everything but kitchen and bath).  It was a beautiful pre-war building and there was beautiful hardwood floors under the carpet and I did not want to install new carpet over it.  I had the floors sanded and stained. My downstairs neighbor didn't complain but if he did i would say that my furniture covers 70% of the floor.

 Area rugs would have also satisfied the 70% rule, so you could have kept the hardwood and still been in compliance.

It was interesting. Our HOA took the approach of, you can put in any flooring you want, but if it is noisy for the person below, you will be required to change it

From my understanding, the rules should dictate what you own and what the condo owns.  Typically either the condo owns to the center of the wall, or to the entire wall to include any paint or wallpaper. I haven't personally seen a condo that dictates what color your walls can be, but restrictions on floor covering are pretty standard due to noise issues for the adjacent tenants.

Originally posted by @Matt M. :

What is the point of buying your own place, to then not be able to do what you want on the inside? So if someone has bad allergies and needs a hard floor rather than carpet, and can’t, isn’t that discriminatory?

Matt, the issue here is that this information is disclosed up front. When you buy in an HOA or a condo it is up to the buyer to do the due diligence and review and be aware of these rules. And while I totally agree thatvma y times they are assinine rules at worst or outdated at best, they are the rules and if.you break them I have learned there are bound to be HOA Nazis ready to inflict pain upon thee.

@David DuCille

I get it, I just don’t get it. My parents had a new townhouse years ago, my mom couldn’t even put a small welcome flag by the door.

There was also a post a few months ago about a guy in a condo in Nj, roof leaking for a year. Drywall damage, mold, etc, HOA wouldn't even have the roof fixed or repaired.

It depends on the HOA or condo association. You need to read the bylaws. Usually there are restrictions on flooring in condo apartments. If you are installing tile or hardwood floors you might be required to install a sound dampening sub floor, such as cork. In an HOA of single family homes, restrictions are usually limited to the exterior.

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