Preventing HOA Selective Enforcement

It’s no secret that along with the perks of HOA membership, homeowners are subject to rules and regulations that they are required to follow. It is the board’s responsibility to enforce those rules and ensure that all members are adhering to them.

But what happens when that enforcement appears to be arbitrary? A homeowner may claim selective enforcement against an HOA board when they feel that a rule is being enforced for them, but not others, or is being enforced inconsistently throughout the association.


Common Areas of Selective Enforcement

Parking Restrictions – Selective enforcement may occur when there are differing allowances or penalties for where tenants are allowed to park, how many vehicles, or what kind of vehicles are permitted, and how long a vehicle may remain in one area.

Pet Restrictions – While one homeowner is fined for walking their large, fierce-looking dog around the neighborhood without a leash, another with a small, friendly looking puppy is allowed to do so without penalty.

Age Restrictions – Selective enforcement cases in this area have included potential homeowners who were denied sale of a unit because they have children under the age of 12. The association claimed age restrictions in the community despite there being several children under the age of the 12 already living there.

Architectural Restrictions – When a board enforces rules regarding architectural changes or improvements that are not specified in the association’s governing documents, and based on their own opinions and tastes, or enforce any architectural detail that is violated by other homeowners without punishment, this can be claimed as selective enforcement.

Take Action

If you are an HOA member who feels that you or another member have been unfairly targeted for violation of a rule, it’s important to take immediate steps to bring it to the attention of the board. This can be done by drafting a letter detailing what occurred and how the enforcement was selective, or by attending and raising the issue at a board meeting.

Be sure to include detailed evidence, such as:

  • Photos
  • Dates, with details
  • Eyewitness accounts

Hopefully, the issue can be resolved quickly and without the need for a lawsuit, which can be both costly and lengthy.


Remember that while selective enforcement does occur, it is always in the everyone’s best interest to maintain good relationships and a positive atmosphere within the community. Communication is key to both avoiding and resolving selective enforcement and upholding the reputation of the HOA. For more information on HOA management, be sure to check our blog or contact us at Spectrum Association Management.