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Responding to HOA Rule Violations

One of the perks of living in an HOA community is that there are specific rules in place to protect property value, maintain a certain aesthetic appeal, keep members safe, and create an enjoyable community for all. Many people appreciate knowing that they won’t have to look at a broken-down car in their neighbor’s yard, live next to a home with overgrown grass, or drive past a house that is painted bright pink.

But it is these same rules that can cause trouble sometimes when trash cans aren’t properly stored, a new mailbox doesn’t conform to requirements, or a fence is built without permission. While no one wants to receive a violation notice, it is the HOA’s responsibility to uphold community rules and regulations. Everyone is held to the same expectations, including board members.

If you do receive a violation notice, here are a few tips for handling the situation:

Realize that the first notice is probably a warning. The HOA typically doesn’t jump right to fines because usually members don’t even realize they’ve done something wrong. You will usually receive a warning first letting you know what the problem is and how it can be resolved. Read through the entire notice – don’t just skim it.

Talk to the board. If you believe you received the violation in error or have questions about the notice, ask for more information. Remain calm and respectful as you learn more. It may have been an oversight or misunderstanding, and the problem is likely fairly easy to fix, so no need to get upset. If you don’t agree with the violation, you can also ask about the steps to go about appealing it. It can be helpful to understand why the rule exists in the first place and its purpose before pursuing further action.

Check your governing documents. Look in the rules and regulations provided to see exactly what is and is not permissible. Before making any changes to the exterior of your home, it is always a good idea to double-check with HOA requirements so you can determine if you need approval and what the regulations are. This can help to reduce risk of being in violation.

Work together on a solution. Realize that the violation is not a personal attack on you. Everyone in the community is (or should be) held to the same expectations, and rules enforcement should be carried out uniformly. If there were extenuating circumstances, let the board know. The violation notice will often let you know how to correct the problem, but you can also see if an alternative solution is agreeable to the board if you had something else in mind.

The HOA strives to uphold its governing documents and do what is in the best interest of the entire community. Keeping open lines of communication and talking things through before jumping to conclusions or taking further action is encouraged. When everyone works together, you can help to reduce problems and ensure that rules and regulations make sense for the community and its goals. Partnering with a property management group like Kuester can ensure that rules are fairly and consistently enforced, issues are addressed in a timely manner, and regular communication is maintained. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your association.

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Bryan Kuester

Bryan Kuester

Bryan is the CEO of Kuester Management Group. He has over 15 years of managing community associations throughout North and South Carolina.

His specialties include Community Association Management - maintenance, budgeting for operational and reserve funding, long-range planning, covenant enforcement, amenity management, onsite management, large scale management.