Its no secret – the complaints are out there! Both homeowners and tenants agree – HOA violations can be a hassle, especially when they seem to arrive consistently for an endless amount of reasons; trash cans left out, a weed in a yard, paint that is faded, items left outside and more! It can be exhausting and even nerve wrecking to see a letter in the mail from your homeowner’s association. You can sense it’s another violation. So, what should you know and what can you do?
Here’s what to know: When a neighborhood is first planned and developed, with the intention of having rules and regulations, documents are created to establish the community rules through the builder / developer. The builder will eventually relinquish control to the community itself. Elected board of directors are established (through a vote of homeowners) and a HOA management company is typically hired to enforce the rules and regulations. That’s how it all starts at the beginning.
So, the rules for the community are established well in advance. As a result, when you get an HOA violation for, as an example, weeds in your yard, this rule was most likely established by the builder! Now it is enforced by the HOA management company, who is hired for…rule and regulation enforcement. Of course, the diligence to enforce the rules by one HOA management company compared to another will vary some. While the board of directors can alter the rules or add new ones, most stay fairly intact.
As a homeowner, prior to purchasing a home, you are presented with the community rules and regulations during your due diligence period in order to review them to see if they are acceptable to you. If they are accepted, then the rules will pertain to you and your property.
If you begin to receive violations, there are a few things you can do – depending on the situation.
- First, if the violation is for a basic infraction, it would be in your best interest to resolve it quickly. Unresolved HOA violations can lead to a second notice and fines! Respond back to the HOA that it was resolved and even present photo proof.
- If the violation seems to be mistaken, be sure to respond to the HOA as well. Indicate your position to the HOA violation and even present a photo to show you are in compliance.
- If the violation is for a costly improvement, such as faded exterior paint and repainting the home is the cure, communicate with the HOA if you need extra time or experiencing a financial difficulty. Communication is key to having a good working relationship.
- Finally, if a matter is serious, you have the option of discussing it with the board of directors during one of their meetings. Be sure to communicate with the HOA management company in that regard.
While HOA violations can be perceived as a nuisance, they are designed to protect property values and maintain the appearance of a neighborhood. In the end, they were established beforehand and are now simply being enforced. Compliance as well as communication is key to developing and maintaining a positive working relationship.