Are homeowners allowed to be issued a speeding ticket in HOA communities? While homeowners associations have the power to enforce rules, there’s a big debate over whether or not they can issue speeding tickets. Let’s find out how far the HOA can enforce speeding rules.
Speeding Inside an HOA
Many people may not consider speeding a serious offense, but it greatly impacts overall safety. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported new data showing that speeding-related casualties grew by 8% from 2020 to 2021. In 2021 alone, 12,330 people died due to speeding-related crashes. That represents 29% of all traffic casualties that year.
This is why traffic enforcers are quite strict when it comes to speeding. However, the problem with private roads in homeowners associations is that law enforcement does not routinely patrol them. They cannot legally control traffic problems on private streets. Hence, the HOA is left to regulate traffic and control speeding.
Homeowners associations often take measures such as setting speed limits, rumbles, and speed bumps. They may also regulate communities by imposing fines. That said, can my HOA write me a ticket? Is this legal, or is the HOA overstepping its boundaries?
Can You Get a Speeding Ticket in HOA Communities?
Not exactly. Generally speaking, homeowners associations can set and enforce speed limits even if they’re below county limits. The speed limit may be stricter than the law as long as they’re reasonable. This is because most governing documents allow the board to make rules regarding common areas — including HOA roads. Moreover, while they often don’t explicitly mention traffic rules, HOAs can categorize speeding under nuisance clauses.
However, homeowners cannot usually receive a speeding ticket in HOA communities in the police sense. They won’t receive the kind of tickets they would on public roads. Instead, HOAs will usually provide notice of the violation and impose a monetary fine. This is usually enough to deter potential offenders. Homeowners associations can also suspend rights and privileges or even take the offending party to court.
On the other hand, enforcement does come with a caveat: the HOA must have made the speed limit known to the community members. This means they must post clear signs around the HOA so everyone knows. Furthermore, HOAs typically need to give the accused a chance to be heard in front of a committee or the HOA board.
Can Private Officers Issue Speeding Tickets in HOA Communities?
Sometimes, associations may hire private security officers or guards to issue speeding tickets in HOA communities. However, this can be risky for the association. This is because private security officers often do not have the authority to issue tickets or citations. They may also not have the right experience or know-how to apprehend a moving vehicle.
At worst, they may also become a liability risk for the association if someone sues them due to unlawful arrest. Homeowners associations must be careful not to overstep their boundaries with the police. It’s best to avoid escalating speeding issues by only issuing rule violation fines instead of actual speeding tickets.
Can HOA Issue Speeding Tickets to Guests?
Homeowners associations can impose fines for speeding violations on members. However, does this also apply to guests? Can HOA penalize speeding if the offender is a visitor? This is where things start to get tricky. It will depend on state law and the governing documents.
For instance, in California, associations can impose penalties when guests violate driving rules. However, the member is responsible for the penalty instead of the guest. Moreover, associations should not attempt to enforce the Vehicle Code and instead focus on enforcing internal traffic rules. As a result, boards should only issue violation notices instead of speeding tickets in HOA communities.
Apart from state law, most governing documents allow HOAs to penalize members for violations committed by their guests and tenants. This is because guests and tenants are not members of the association. They’re not subject to the CC&Rs. As a result, the board will instead impose penalties on the members as guests and tenants are their responsibility.
What About Public Roads?
If the streets of a homeowners association are private, the board is often free to set traffic rules and impose fines. However, it’s a different matter if the roads are public. This is because public roads are under the jurisdiction of local law enforcement.
How to Enforce Speed Limits in HOAs
The best way to enforce speed limits is to post speed limit signs and stop signs around the community. Moreover, the HOA can install speed bumps, rumbles, and even speed cameras.
The HOA can also send periodic emails reminding the residents of the rules. These can go a long way in deterring offenders from violating the association’s rules.
Apart from this, homeowners associations can outsource traffic enforcement to private security firms. These private officers may not be able to issue speeding tickets, but they can monitor the community for violations. They can record speeding cars and report violations to the board.
In addition, HOAs can partner with local law enforcement. This will be helpful if there are many violators within the community. Local law enforcement can perform periodic patrols, provide the presence of a police car, and even issue speeding tickets.
Finally, if someone does make an offense, the HOA should follow its violation policy. They should issue warnings, provide notices, collect evidence, and conduct hearings as the governing documents require. The board can also impose monetary fines or temporarily suspend rights and privileges. They may also take the offending member to court if the situation is dire.
Can an HOA Issue Speeding Tickets? Answered!
While it’s tempting to do, HOA board members should not issue a speeding ticket in HOA communities. They should only act within the authority given to them by the governing documents. It’s best not to overstep any boundaries, as this can get the HOA into trouble with the law. Homeowners may also file lawsuits against the HOA.
Is your community having trouble enforcing speed limits and traffic rules? Why not hire a professional management company like Elite Management Services to lift your burden? Contact us online or call us today at (855) 238-8488 for more details!
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