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The Difference Between a Civic League vs. HOA in Hampton Roads

Here in Hampton Roads you may come across many neighborhoods that may participate in a Civic League or an HOA (Homeowners Association). If you’ve come across either of these associations in your home search you may be wondering what the differences are between the two. Here’s some clarity on each association so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Civic Leagues

  • Membership: Civic leagues are built up of a voted board of directors, and residents are free to be a part of the association or leave without any repercussions. They are non-profit organizations recognized by the local government.
  • Maintenance: Usually Civic Leagues are in residential areas where the city takes care of all maintenance of streets and all communal areas, but will ask for volunteers to improve the neighborhoods well-being. The Civic Leagues usually interact with the local government to help keep traffic management, public safety, and neighborhood infrastructure up to date.
  • Restrictions: They do not have covenants or restrictions on what residents can and can not have on their properties.
  • Dues: Dues are used to implement events throughout the community. Dues are not required in most civic leagues for membership. 


  • Membership: Homeowners associations usually begin with the builder when developing the subdivision to keep control of all of the common areas and homes until a certain number of homes are sold. When the builder is finished developing they will transfer the association over to the homeowners to manage. HOAs are built up of voted Board of Directors.
  • Dues: Dues are mandatory and must be paid by all residents. Failure to pay or follow regulations can cause residents to be fined, lose access to any amenities, and ultimately a lien on their property. 
  • Maintenance: The voted Board of Directors manage the neighborhood common areas and upkeep of any HOA land and all resident requests. All dues go to the upkeep of the land and common areas such as pools, parks, ponds, gyms, basketball or tennis courts, and community centers.
  • Restrictions: Most HOAs have a document of covenants and restrictions in which all members must abide by or they will be fined. If a resident wants to add a new fence, pergola, shed, or paint their house a new color they must submit a document with full detail of their wishes and have it approved through the HOA before starting any project. These must be voted on by the Board of Directors or a voted group within the Board to ensure everything meets standards.

An HOA can be loved or hated. Most HOAs keep a subdivision clean and free from any unwanted appearances.  They can increase community engagement among neighbors which is a great way to get to know people you live next door to. Neighborhood amenities like trails, parks, and pools are nice to have access to as well. HOAs can be a challenge to navigate around if you want to keep a boat in your driveway, or if you simply don’t want to have someone telling you it is time to pressure wash your house, but it does help having others assist in maintaining the property value of your home and the neighborhood overall.

When shopping REIN.com for your new home, be sure to check the box in the MORE section to either the REQUIRED FEATURES for HOA/POA Fees, or EXCLUDE FEATURES to not see any houses with HOA/POA Fees. There are currently over 2,000 properties that participate in an HOA on REIN.com.

We encourage you to connect with one of our 8,000 agents to help you find the home that’s right for you. If it’s a question of what you can afford, check out our mortgage calculator to help estimate your monthly payments. For local listings you can trust, start with REIN.com.

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