Dealing with HOAs

How to Deal with Home Owners Associations

This post was created in partnership with Pinkowski Law & Policy Group, and contains content created by them.

What is the best strategy to deal with HOAs and neighbors in your residential assisted living home community?

It’s important to bookmark professional tips when establishing a residential assisted living home in communities governed by homeowner’s associations.

First, when searching for RAL real estate, if at all possible, identify a location that is not within an HOA. This will undoubtedly spare you an unwanted path of resistance. If you find a home in the perfect location and it happens to have an HOA, it will be to your advantage to knowing your rights.

According to the Fair Housing Act, disabled residents are protected – HOA rules cannot keep them out of the neighborhood. While zoning codes and stipulations dictate the number of residents allowed in a home, an HOA cannot ban RAL homes altogether. Unfortunately, when RAL owners and operators fail to educate themselves, the lack of homework leads to frustrations, obstacles and long delays. Take time to get to know your HOA rules and state and federal laws.


You won’t be able to break the homeowner’s association rules that apply to neighborhood design and landscaping. For example, if the HOA rules prohibit owners from painting their homes a certain color, you cannot disregard those guidelines. The design review committee has the right to maintain a specific curb appeal throughout the community.

However, HOAs are required to grant “reasonable accommodations” under the Fair Housing Act based on certain circumstances. There are always exceptions to the rules. Remember, your introduction to the neighborhood will play an important marketing component when making RAL residents and their families feel welcomed.


What is the best strategy to deal with HOAs and neighbors in your RAL home community? First, get to know the design review committee. Before you submit your plans, try approaching committee members who may be favorable to your project. It is far more difficult to disagree with someone face-to-face, especially when they are providing resources for the senior community.

Show up and educate these committee members about what you’re doing and why. Stay calm, despite opposition, when announcing your project in an HOA meeting. Some neighbors will be excited about the idea, while others will be furious about the anticipated traffic and questions about the value of their homes. Remember that some people fear change or things they don’t understand.

Tensions ordinarily transform into support once your home is open and serving the community. Avoid announcing your plans in advance to the entire neighborhood – this added process is not necessary.

You’ll have plenty of time to host open houses and provide discounted rates to neighboring families who are seeking to place their loved ones in your nearby assisted living home.


Group homes sometimes come with downsides for the residents of the surrounding neighborhood, and RAL homes can raise similar objections.

As a result, potential concerns include the following:

  • Additional traffic 
  • Limited parking
  • Risky residents
  • Development upkeep
  • Jeopardy of losing a peaceful environment
  • Uncertainties about property value

In turn, some homeowners’ associations have attempted to restrict or even prohibit group homes and assisted living homes. Have no fear, because federal law provides powerful protections – that’s not to say HOAs are powerless. Although, when HOAs adopt and enforce restrictive guidelines, they must remain legally compliant.


Residential Assisted Living National Association is a rapidly growing membership-based organization supporting the assisted living industry. It is the largest RAL organization providing resources and support in the residential assisted living industry.

The membership grants you access to group purchasing power, discounts with over 200 RAL vendors, legal advocacy, industry marketing, educational services, memory care training, certifications, marketing, and relevant newsletters. Visit for additional information.

This Information is available as a downloadable PDF in the Continued Education section of your Member Dashboard.

Click below to download this guide and see others like it.

If you found the information on this article valuable, you’ll find enormous benefits by becoming a member of our community. Visit this page to become a RALNA Member.