The point of a homeowner’s association (HOA) is to establish and enforce community standards. You may have rules about property additions, where people can park vehicles or what they can grow in their front lawns.
When everyone in the community enthusiastically supports the HOA’s standards, you likely won’t have to worry much about enforcement. However, if there are some people who don’t agree with the HOA’s approach to certain issues, you may even really need to engage in enforcement actions.
Enforcing HOA rules is a tricky prospect. You have to be consistent in how you enforce the HOA rules or you run the risk of rendering those rules unenforceable in the future. You also need to be careful to ensure that you don’t violate a homeowner’s rights while trying to push them into compliance. What are some of the common means that an h o a can use to get a homeowner to follow the rules?
Issue a fine
The agreement with the HOA that the property owner signed when they bought the house likely included an explanation of the rules for your association. An explanation of your enforcement rules and the fees that you charge was likely also part of their closing paperwork.
Citing someone and fining them a few hundred dollars can be a strong motivation to get them to pay better attention to when they need to put their trash out or keep their lawn maintained.
Restrict their access to HOA resources
If someone hasn’t paid their fines or pays the fine but doesn’t correct the infraction, additional steps may be necessary. Many HOAs provide amenities for property owners ranging from high-speed community internet service to exercise equipment and a pool. You can rescind someone’s access to those resources until they bring their property or their account into compliance.
You may need to take someone to court
In extreme cases, you may need to take someone to court to enforce the HOA standards for your community. A judge could order them to get their property into compliance or to pay fines already assessed by the HOA.
Exploring different HOA enforcement options can help your association maintain community standards and property values.