Gated Community HOA Law

Gated communities have shown a continuous rise in demand in the American Urban Landscape. They have unique features that differentiate them from non-gated places. 

The obvious elements are physical barriers like electric gates and a surrounding wall that restricts access to unauthorized people. As a result, occupants feel safe and secure at home, knowing that theft and crime are less likely to occur behind a gate. 

However, HOAs (homeowners associations) often govern gated communities, meaning rules and regulations are in place. Each HOA might have slightly different rules regarding a smart gate and general home governance in the community, but they usually follow the same principles. 

Can Gated Communities Create Their laws?

Each gated community might house a significant number of individuals; each resident must obey the community’s laws. It led to the need to incorporate a homeowner association (HOA) that ensures that these communities live by the set rules. Smaller gated communities might not have or need one, but HOAs can help keep things stable for the larger gated communities.

Being a part of an HOA requires that you abide by the strict rules set by the homeowners. If you haven’t lived in a gated community before, you may have to conform to these rules, which can sometimes change the way you live. So before purchasing a property, whether it’s in a gated community or not, always check the local HOA laws set down to ensure none of them will be too onerous for you and your family. If they are, you might be better looking to gate off your own private residence instead of moving to a gated community. That said, HOAs operate in normal communities too. 

Most of the rules are focused on maintenance procedures on the premises. You need to adhere to the community’s rules that directly apply to your home, including maintaining shining roofs, green lawns, etc. Some go over the top with their regulations and won’t allow any lawns that are too long; others are more realistic.

For example, if you have a plumbing problem, you need to fix it quickly. Acting fast in this situation protects other homeowners so that there isn’t more comprehensive property damage. It’s a rule that makes sense. Other logical rules can cover the safe usage of cellular electric gates. Not just in terms of entering and exiting the property through the gate but in ensuring that you don’t give access to unwanted persons. Gate safety is why cellular access is better because it can be better governed, and it’s clear who has access, whereas occupants can share a pin code anonymously. 

Other maintenance rules usually include changing cloudy water in the pool, eradicating weeds, painting walls, and restricting your dog’s noise. Some can be pretty hard to do consistently and might appear harsh, but an HOA can fine you if you don’t comply with the rules they’ve set down. 

You should be ready to follow all the defined rules, as they are legal. However, American law applies the rules differently to that of traditional neighborhoods. The difference comes in because they are private entities that can make their own rules, not public ones.

Can Police Officers Enter Gated Communities for Traffic Violations or other Reasons?

Violating traffic rules is a severe offense in the United States. Traffic police are always on the lookout for anyone who might not stick by the rules. They are ready to give chase to offenders, and the necessary penalties apply. However, privately owned roads prove to be a stumbling block to enforcing fundamental traffic infringements like speeding. In the USA, one in five admitted to speeding, while half of all Americans admitted it’s a problem; that’s before you look at drunk driving stats and other traffic-related law-breaking.

Traffic officers aren’t usually allowed to enter due to the nature of a private, gated community. Instead, you are supposed to receive a written traffic citation agreement from the officer. It permits them to access the community and respond to traffic-related offenses. The law varies slightly from one state to the next, but broadly, that’s true. Serious infractions are a different deal, though, and if there’s a danger to life, an officer can act. 

However, in case of minor incidents such as running a stop sign, lack of headlights, and speeding on private roads, police officers cannot intervene. The roads are private. They can only act when they have a written agreement with the property owners authorizing them to take action. It’s certainly something worth checking out with your HOA if you ever get into trouble with the police or if someone has broken the rules and you’re wondering what the best steps to take are. 

If you live in a gated community and feel that police should watch for speeding offenders, you need to go through a legal process. The relevant homeowners association should sign the agreement for deputies to commence enforcement. Communities can also hire private officers to enforce traffic regulations too. If you think there is a danger in the community to children or pets, it might be a logical step to take. It gives police officers the right to act upon any traffic violator. The county also ensures that the roads in your community comply with state standards, whether they’re private or not.

In a case where you drive under the influence of alcohol or other drug substances, the law gives police officers the authority to investigate, even in gated communities. Unfortunately, it’s a problem throughout the whole United States, with up to 43% of people admitting they’ve driven under the influence. Whenever there are such suspicions, law enforcement must examine the issue regardless of where it happened since it represents a danger to other motorists. Even if it occurred on private land, it constitutes a danger to life and they have the authority to act.

Can Guests be Banned from Entering?

Living in a private neighborhood does not mean that you can’t have your friends come over for a visit. Consider briefing them on the gated community laws to ensure they abide by them while at your property. They should also know how to use the electric gate. Each gate will have a different method of operation, with the most modern ones using a cellular access system. If they’re not sure how to use it, they could damage it. Keep in mind that walled communities may have guards 24/7 on the lookout to raise the alarm in case of any issue. Additionally, other members can file a complaint to the association.

If your guest breaks the community governing document or commits criminal acts, the guards can prevent them from accessing the community. If there are no guards, then the HOA can decide they’re banned and withhold access via the cellular app which governs access to the community. 

HOA security can also deny your guest access to shared facilities and areas. The association can take it a notch higher and bar your guest from entering the place for a given time. As per the homeowners association act, you and your guests must comply with the set guidelines. 

Additionally, you can face charges from the association due to guest violations.

So long as your guests know about the HOA laws in place, there shouldn’t be any problems. 

If there are issues and you’re using a cellular access system, it’s pretty simple for the manager to deny someone access. If another community member has given someone else access via an app, you can disallow that access and supersede what they’ve done. It’s a great way to stop problems from occurring in a gated community. 

Who is liable if someone Sneaks in?

Living in a gated community assures you of added security and privacy. In many cases, you will find security guards at the entrances, who make intrusion difficult for people who may have bad intentions. However, having such measures does not guarantee that your house is safe from crime. A gated community or property makes it a lot harder for thieves and other criminals to get what they want; however, criminality still occurs from time to time. 

All HOA staffed employees responsible for securing the premises should be highly qualified with thorough background checks if your community has gate guards.

Lack of proper vetting can compromise security. Therefore, you can hold the community authorities accountable for any damages that may occur due to the inadequate capacity of guards to secure your house.

Guards regulate access to many gated communities via the gates. You will find some communities with qualified security personnel who check on everyone before allowing them into the area. In contrast, others use gate codes or other more up-to-date gate entry methods like a cellular access system (smartphone-controlled).

If anyone accesses the gated community without proper identification and later causes harm to you or other people within the premises, the community will still be liable for such offenses.

Sometimes, your neighborhood or the surrounding area may have faced criminal activities such as assault, robbery, or break-in attempts. The community should inform you about potential dangers that may arise from local activities. Lack of warning may lead to injuries or damage to you, so HOAs should be aware of local crime and notify residents when appropriate.

In case you find yourself in such circumstances, it would be best to contact the community authorities for a resolution. However, in most cases, you can discuss with a legal expert to develop an amicable solution since you have the right to full protection.

Unmanned Community Break-In

In some communities, the gates and walls are just a deterrent and an access control method. You might not be able to hold the community liable if someone breaks in. As most communities aren’t guarded by active personnel and are instead shielded behind access gates and walls, a determined criminal might still gain entrance. That said, it’s a lot harder than breaking into a community without an electric gate or walls.

If you or the HOA notice enhanced break-in attempts, it might be time to upgrade your electric gate. Remember, Nimbio can make any gate into a smart gate controllable with your smartphone. It’s much easier and can stop access from being shared with potential criminals. 


The added security offered by gated communities gives many residents comfort. Residents can find peace with minimal interruptions within these walls. While at your home, you can watch the sunrise as you sip the morning coffee, have an after-dinner dog walk, or have a serene atmosphere on the patio. The cost might be higher, but increased security is worth it for some. You may take time to adjust to the gated community laws, but the result is peace of mind.

If you want to learn more about gated communities and electric smart gates, be sure to check out our blog. Our keyless entry system can change any gate into a smart gate but be sure to check the system’s features first or read some testimonials from others who have used the cellular access system. If there’s anything you’re not sure about and have unanswered questions, please get in touch with us so we can talk you through it. 

Open your gate or building with your phone