Homeowners' association are members-only groups that control a lot of how you use your property. With covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), the association can control the colors you paint your house, how many holiday lights you put on your lawn, the number of cars you can have outside, and even the type of plants you place in your yard. Homeowners' association covenants usually develop in an effort to make a neighborhood appear uniform in nature and to ostensibly enhance everyone's domestic satisfaction. Association fees are required on top of the payments you make for your home and insurance, in many cases. As long as you follow your association's policy, you should be able to change a homeowners' association covenant. Otherwise, you might have to file a suit.
Read your homeowners' association documents to find out what policies are in place to appeal or overturn a rule or covenant, if any.
Approach the homeowners' association board and ask for a clarification of the covenant. It's possible you have an issue or angle to the covenant they did not see before.
Ask for a special meeting to openly discuss the matter and encourage other residents with an issue with the covenant to attend.
Collect signatures on a petition from association members and present them to the board. Board members are elected to their positions; if enough of their constituents disagree with a covenant, they may act to overturn it.
Consult a real estate attorney and find out if you have a case against them that warrants court or mediation to try to overturn or amend the covenant.
Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.