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How to Enforce Violations of an HOA’s CC&Rs
As an HOA board member, you may be faced with difficult challenges that come with maintaining an HOA community. It is in the boards best interest to serve their community and ensure that all governing documents are enforced according to their communities guidelines. In times when community members fail to live up to the standards required by the association after a warning letter has been sent, the HOA board of directors may be forced to execute an HOA violation letter.
What is an HOA violation letter?
The primary purpose of an HOA notice of violation, or violation letter, is to educate and enforce the association’s rules and guidelines as outlined in their Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R). This includes consequences, such as monetary fines, for actions that are noncompliant with the HOA rules.
For example, an HOA member may be given a notice of violation due to numerous noise complaints from neighbors. Typically, an HOA violation letter will include information regarding the offense, a declaration stating the HOAs laws or rules that were violated, a compliance date, suggestions on how to solve the problem, a fine amount, and a contact person for any additional questions or concerns.
Keep in mind that every state is different; what constitutes an HOA violation in one state may be different in another. Once you have an official template, it will be easier to follow up on HOA violations in your community.
What to Include in the HOA Violation Letter
State the purpose of the violation letter
When stating the purpose, use a professional and respectful tone — especially when it comes to describing the violation. Be sure to reference and cite your CC&Rs with the violation being done by the homeowner. Use as much detail necessary so that the owner has a full understanding of why they are being given a violation letter.
Cite evidence for the offense
If available, provide any evidence that may be necessary. For example images, past warning letters, or a call log can help show how the violation was addressed.
Request necessary changes
Provide suggestions on how the homeowner should proceed with helping resolve the issue. When a violation requires the owner to purchase a tool or item to help resolve the issue, consider providing more than one option that may be more cost-effective.
Provide an appropriate time to make changes
When providing a time frame, consider the amount of time that it may take to resolve the issue. Be fair and realistic — especially if the issue will require any reconstruction by the homeowner. Additionally, depending on the severity of the issue, some violations may take as long as 30 days or more to resolve.
Consult governing documents before sending the violation letter
In all situations, be sure to reference your CC&Rs about any laws or guidelines that are necessary when sending your letter. For example, some communities may require an HOA violation letter to be delivered in person or by registered mail.
Enforcing rules can be difficult, which is why it’s important to have an established process in place for your HOA.