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Homeowners Association (HOA): Understanding Its Authority to Modify Paint Color Regulations


Homeowners associations (HOAs) are prevalent in many residential communities, enforcing rules and regulations to maintain property values and aesthetic standards. One common question that arises is whether HOAs have the authority to alter paint color restrictions for individual homes.

HOA's Legal Authority

HOAs derive their authority from governing documents, typically consisting of the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). These documents outline the HOA's powers, including the ability to establish and enforce rules regarding the appearance of properties within the community.

Scope of HOA Authority

HOA rules typically cover a wide range of topics, including landscaping, architectural modifications, and exterior paint colors. HOAs have the right to regulate these aspects to ensure uniformity and curb appeal within the community.

Paint Color Regulations

Paint color regulations aim to maintain a cohesive and visually pleasing neighborhood. HOAs often establish specific color palettes or guidelines that homeowners must adhere to when painting their homes. These regulations may include approved color swatches, restrictions on certain hues or shades, or requirements for complementary colors.

Changing Paint Color Regulations

While HOAs have the authority to establish paint color regulations, they cannot arbitrarily change these rules without following proper procedures. Typically, HOAs must adhere to the following steps to modify paint color restrictions:

  • Board Approval: The HOA board, comprised of elected homeowners, must vote to approve any proposed changes to the paint color regulations. A majority vote is typically required.
  • Member Notice: The HOA must provide written notice to all homeowners regarding the proposed changes. This notice should include details of the changes, the rationale behind them, and the date of the board meeting where the vote will take place.
  • Member Vote: At the board meeting, homeowners have the opportunity to voice their opinions and vote on the proposed changes. A majority vote of the attending homeowners is typically required to approve the amendments.
  • Formal Amendment: Once approved, the changes to the paint color regulations must be formally incorporated into the HOA's governing documents, such as the CC&Rs.

Exceptions to Paint Color Regulations

In certain circumstances, HOAs may grant exceptions to paint color regulations. For example, historically designated homes may be exempt from standard paint color restrictions. Additionally, homeowners may request a variance from the HOA board if they have compelling reasons for deviating from the approved color palette.

Architectural Review Committee

In many HOAs, an architectural review committee (ARC) is responsible for reviewing and approving any modifications to the exterior of homes, including paint color changes. The ARC ensures that proposed changes comply with the HOA's regulations and maintain the community's aesthetic standards.

Dispute Resolution

If a homeowner believes that the HOA's paint color regulations are unreasonable or unfairly applied, they have the right to file a dispute. This process typically involves mediation or arbitration between the homeowner and the HOA board.


Homeowners associations have the authority to establish and enforce paint color regulations to maintain the aesthetic integrity of their communities. However, these regulations cannot be changed arbitrarily and must follow proper procedures involving board approval, member notice, and majority votes. Homeowners should carefully review their HOA's governing documents and consult with the HOA board or ARC before making exterior modifications to their homes.

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