Common HOA Violations and How to Avoid Them
Most people know that when they live in an HOA, there are certain rules they’ll be expected to follow. An association’s governing documents contain Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) that clearly state what is expected of its members. Yet, even with these expectations, HOA violations happen all the time.
The good news is, with a little knowledge and preparation, homeowners can easily avoid violations and their associated penalties and make the most of their HOA membership.
Although CC&Rs can vary greatly from one association to the next, there are a few common rules that tend to be violated more often than others:
- Overgrown or unkept landscaping. HOAs usually have fairly strict rules about keeping lawns cut and planting areas tidy and seasonally maintained. Because the look of the association has a direct effect on its reputation and property values, the HOA is typically quick to enforce those rules.
- Parking violations. The number or type of vehicles parked in your driveway may result in a fine if not compliant with the HOA rules.
- Holiday decorations. If spring is approaching and you haven’t gotten around to taking down your holiday lights and décor, you are likely to hear about it from your HOA.
- It’s not uncommon for HOA members to violate rules about the number, type, or noisiness of their beloved pets.
- Smoking in non-smoking areas. Whether they notice the signs or not, smoking in undesignated areas is a regular occurrence in many associations.
- Illegal rentals. Renting out an extra room in your home may seem like a great way to bring in some extra cash, though it might be in violation of community’s rules.
- House design alterations. Unapproved architectural or aesthetic changes (paint, siding, fencing, etc.) are one of the most common HOA violations.
- HOAs usually require that garbage cans be brought in and out in a timely manner, and require larger items to be broken down rather than left out on the curb.
Tips to Avoid Penalties
The best way to avoid breaking the rules is to know them. While it seems obvious, many buyers simply skim through the lengthy governing documents and miss many details about the expectations of living in their HOA. The simple act of familiarizing themselves with the rules and regulations will go a long way in avoiding costly penalties and maintaining a positive relationship with the board.
Because rules change from time to time, it’s important for HOA members to stay in the loop by reading community newsletters and by attending board meetings and community events.
Open communication between HOA members and the board is critical to maintaining a good relationship and avoiding sticky situations. Misunderstandings and unintended violations can often be resolved, and penalties avoided with a respectful, honest dialogue.
While HOA rules may seem stringent, it’s helpful for homeowners to remember that rules are set in place to better the association and maintain a higher standard of living for all members. With a little extra effort, community members can avoid committing common violations and contribute to the overall success of the community. For board members looking for a new HOA management company, contact Spectrum Association Management today. We provide our top rated HOA management services to communities in Arizona and Texas and we have offices located in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and San Antonio.