Dealing With HOA Violations In The Community
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’s no miscommunication. Learn more below.
What Is an HOA Violation?
HOA violations occur when a resident violates a provision that is within the governing documents of an HOA, which can include 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 that explains details about the offense, how to correct it, the time period required to make the correction, and any other pertinent information about potential fees or fines required.
Depending on what kind of HOA your community has, they may send violations differently due to the regulations set forth in the state where your community is located. Having an understanding of local regulations related to HOAs will be 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 types of HOA violations usually consist of 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, and 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 a resident wants to attempt to avoid HOA violations, it is usually best to have a comprehensive understanding of the governing documents of their HOA, be continuously aware of new rules and regulations that may be impacting the community, and to keep an open line of communication with their HOA board.
Many times, residents that 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 their HOA in order to improve their overall quality of life within their communities.
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 residents want to avoid paying excess construction fees and fines from their HOA, it is best to keep an open dialogue to avoid issues with their HOA. Major changes are not limited to architectural changes, for example, drastically modifying the color of a 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 and ask why there was a difference in issuing violation notices.
If your HOA is not enforcing protocols equally, then it is wise to discuss it with them or to receive outside counsel from an attorney if the violation is substantial. Typically, your HOA will provide you an explanation of why your particular circumstances are different than your neighbors so that your questions can be clarified. 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.
The Danger of Illegal Rentals
Dealing with HOA violations also include 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 may threaten the safety and quality of life of the other residents in the community.
Owners need to make sure their HOA allows for short-term rentals in order to 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.
Have an HOA Management Company Help
A professional HOA management company knows the ins and outs of dealing with HOA violations as well as making sure the community is aware of such violations in the first place. If there are any disputes, the HOA manager or community manager is trained and experienced to handle situations like this, too. If you believe you need help in this area, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.