Effective Tips for Enforcing Rules Respectfully are part of the territory when it comes to running and managing an HOA community. These rules are what keep things running smoothly and protect the value and integrity of the neighborhood. While every homeowner might not agree with every rule, they still must abide them or face the consequences. Rules are bound to be broken from time to time, but here are some basic guidelines for enforcement:
- Be Proactive
Listen to the questions and concerns brought up by homeowners. Pay attention if the same issues pop up or something doesn’t seem right. Periodically reviewing policies can identify rules that may have slipped by unnoticed and keep important issues fresh in board members’ minds. When addressing any issues in the community, the governing documents should always be consulted.
- Be Upfront
If there is a rule that enforcement has been lax on, be honest and upfront with homeowners. Let them know a mistake was made, but going forward, the rule will be enforced. For instance, they may have to keep trashcans in the garage or behind the house instead of alongside. Explain the rationale behind the rule and address any questions or concerns homeowners may have. Education is important and letting residents know why the rule is important, instead of just forcing them to comply, can ease resistance.
- Be Reasonable
Give homeowners a chance to adjust and let them know a specific date when the rule will be enforced. Remember that violations do occur accidentally sometimes, so provide a friendly warning first before issuing a fine. Homeowners may not realize that they’re doing anything wrong. Adding helpful reminders as part of the newsletter can be beneficial as well.
- Be Consistent
Once a policy has been communicated and put in place, follow through on a consistent basis. If one homeowner gets away with leaving their Christmas lights up until May and another is issued a fine in February, this sends a confusing message. Have a plan in place for implementation and enforcement and communicate this to homeowners.
- Be Realistic
If there doesn’t seem to be a logical reason why a particular rule exists, it may be time to consider making changes. Also, be mindful of the best interest of homeowners and consider grandfathering certain rules. If you’re issuing a new rule that says a certain breed of dog will no longer be permitted, a family shouldn’t have to get rid of their family pet if they got it long before the rule was enacted. Use discretion and ethics when making changes.
With the right policies and procedures in place, these tips for enforcing HOA rules respectfully shouldn’t be a burden. The community can function more peaceably and effectively creating a great place for homeowners to live.