As a homeowner in an HOA, you have a responsibility to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the association. Breaking these rules can result in consequences, and dealing with HOA violations is no walk in the park. Here is everything you need to know about HOA violations.
In this article:
- Dealing With HOA Violations the Right Way
- What Are HOA Violations?
- The Best Ways to Avoid HOA Violations
- What to Do If You Received a Violation and Your Neighbor Did Not
- Appealing HOA Violations
- The Danger of Illegal Rentals
- HOA Violations Happen Every Day
Dealing With HOA Violations the Right Way
Residents benefit a great deal from living in a community that has an HOA. However, residents do have to understand that the improved quality of life in their community does come with a price. Residents are expected to adhere to HOA guidelines while living in the community.
When a resident fails to follow HOA regulations, they may receive a violation from their HOA board. It is important for every party dealing with HOA violations to fully understand this process so there is no miscommunication. Here, we discuss how to deal with HOA violations and how to avoid them.
What Are HOA Violations?
HOA violations occur when a resident violates a provision that is within the governing documents of an HOA. This includes the bylaws, CC&Rs, articles of incorporation, and other written rules and regulations.
When a resident violates the regulations set forth in the governing documents of an HOA, they will typically receive a written notice from the HOA board. Typically, this notice contains all the pertinent details of the offense. This includes how to correct the violation, the time period required to make the correction, and any other information about potential fees or fines.
Depending on where your HOA is, the board may deal with homeowner violations differently due to the regulations set forth in the state. Having an understanding of local regulations related to HOAs is important to ensure they are following the required regulations.
The most common types of HOA violations can vary based on the size of your community. However, the most common HOA violations usually consist of the following:
- Improperly parked vehicles
- Overgrown landscaping
- Off-season holiday decorations
- Trash containers in the wrong place
- Unapproved architectural changes
- Illegal rentals
- Smoking in smoke-free areas
- Pet violations
Whether you’re a homeowner or an HOA manager, dealing with HOA violations like these is necessary.
The Best Ways to Avoid HOA Violations
If you want to avoid HOA violations, you must do a few things. The first is to have a comprehensive understanding of the governing documents of your HOA. You must also remain continuously aware of new rules and regulations. Lastly, keep an open line of communication with your HOA board.
Many times, residents who do not have a positive relationship with their HOA tend to have a negative experience living in their communities. Remember that it is important to keep a positive relationship with your HOA. This way, you can improve your overall quality of life within your community.
When it comes to architectural changes, HOAs generally frown upon drastic ones. Residents who begin these projects without getting approval from their HOA end up facing major issues when they have already commenced their construction.
If you want to avoid paying excess construction fees and fines, it is best to keep an open dialogue to avoid issues with your HOA. Major changes are not limited to architectural changes. For example, drastically modifying the color of your home’s paint could also cause issues with the HOA if there are only certain paint colors that are permitted.
What to Do If You Received a Violation and Your Neighbor Did Not
Many residents have a great deal of anger if they received a violation notice from their HOA and their neighbor did not for the same violation. Instead of jumping to conclusions in these situations, it is always best to keep an open dialogue with your HOA. Ask why there was a difference in issuing violation notices.
If your HOA is not enforcing protocols equally, then discuss it with the board. You can also receive outside counsel from an attorney if the violation is substantial. Typically, your HOA will provide you with an explanation of why your particular circumstances are different than your neighbor’s. This way, they can clarify your questions.
The important thing to remember is to at least ask why the violation has occurred to make sure that there was not an error. Failing to ask questions could cause you to have additional expenses that could have been avoided if you had clarified the issue with your HOA.
Appealing HOA Violations
Sometimes, homeowners receive notices even if they committed no such violation. If you think your HOA is in the wrong in this situation, there is a way to have the violation overturned. Most associations have a standard hearing process for this type of thing, so ask your HOA board for options.
During your violation hearing, present your argument along with any evidence that supports your side. Don’t expect the board to make a decision on the spot, though. They will likely take some time after your hearing to make a decision. If you’re still unsatisfied with their decision, check the HOA governing documents for further action you can take.
The Danger of Illegal Rentals
Dealing with HOA violations also includes illegal rentals. One of the most common issues that arise in communities located in popular tourist destinations is owners making a profit off of short-term illegal rentals.
These rentals can be tenants for six months or hotel guests for two days. Many HOAs have cracked down on these practices because they threaten the safety and quality of life of other residents in the community.
Owners need to make sure their HOA allows for short-term rentals. This way, you can avoid a dispute due to creating an investment property situation where rentals are illegal with your HOA. Many owners have had issues with this, particularly in cities such as Miami and New York. As the short-term rental market is growing, owners looking to have investment properties have to be very careful about whether their HOA permits such practices to avoid fines.
HOA Violations Happen Every Day
Dealing with HOA violations is no cakewalk. Whether you’re a homeowner or HOA board member, it involves a lot of time and work. And, in some cases, it even involves money. Violations are a normal occurrence in a community, though, so don’t be surprised by them. For homeowners, the important thing is to avoid violating rules by staying informed and communicating with the board. On the other hand, for HOA board members, always ensure uniform rule enforcement.
For help with HOA violations and how to deal with them, consider hiring an HOA management company. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.
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