I hate my HOA! I hate living in an HOA! My HOA is HORRIBLE! All things I hear on a regular basis. Lucky for you, I have experience with HOA’s and rules that govern them, the laws that govern them and when there is a real problem, I can help you figure out what the next step should be.
But, if there is one certainty in life, (forget death and taxes) it has to be that no one likes receiving a letter from their HOA, especially, when it comes to an alleged violation. Does it seem like they pick and choose who they send letters to? Are they looking at your house? or better yet YOUR NEIGHBORS? Are they managing the HOA properly? What is the point of Regulations if they don’t enforce them equally? What is the point of an HOA?
Well, now you can have your questions answered and hopefully understand a little bit more of their purpose and what they can and can’t do.
WHY DOES AN ASSOCIATION NEED RULES? Rules exist to maintain a community and that is complicated to do without them, especially when you have many homeowners living in close proximity. (SEEMS POINTLESS UNLESS ENFORCED RIGHT?) Below are some categories of rules you may see in your own CC&’Rs and some reasons why they may exist and why it may seem like NOTHING is getting done:
COMMON AREA RULES: Covering things such as no parking on common elements, sidewalks or landscape
may be one example of those types’ rules.
ARCHITECTURAL RULES: Any changes to your home’s exterior may require the review of your Association,
this rule exists is because what one person may do can and does affect the rights of another living in the
USE RESTRICTIONS: This involves rules that discuss what a resident may or may not do in more detail.
PROMOTE COMMUNITY HARMONY: While this one sounds funny, when one neighbor is upset about
another neighbors actions, they contact the Association and they try to resolve the issue if it falls under one of the
rules and regulations. Yet, HOA’s are not allowed to discuss with you what corrective actions they have taken against said neighbor or neighbors. Seems pointless right, but it is a legal privacy issue.
WHY DOES AN ASSOCIATION HAVE AN INSPECTOR? It is the duty of the Board to enforce the rules and regulations. In order to do that they hire an inspector. The inspectors duty to fulfill that requirement of the board and document in writing what is seen in the community. If an inspector notices weeds in your yard, you will probably receive a letter about weeds; with a picture (it’s not personal). The most difficult part the Association faces with covenant enforcement is that they cannot discuss with a homeowner any violations or actions taken if it does not pertain to their property. Since it cannot disclose actions against others, it can lead to more frustrations. It does not mean action hasn’t been taken or the concern isn’t being addressed, it just means they can’t tell you as a matter of privacy.
REASONS FOR NON-COMPLIANCE FROM HOMEOWNERS: You have a life and so does your neighbor. So it is possible there are various reasons why compliance hasn’t been achieved. When you receive a letter you want time to figure it out and same with your neighbor (UNLESS THEY ARE JUST JERKS). Most HOA’s don’t want to cause undue stress or unnecessary escalations of the issue.
Communication and patience is the key to getting things resolved. It can truly be frustrating not getting any results and feeling like things aren’t happening fast enough or at all. Especially if your neighbor is a total jerk and just doesn’t care. Unfortunately there are many things an HOA can’t always help with. Things like barking dogs, screaming kids, late night parties, loud music, safety, and community construction. HOA’s can be helpful in all of these things given enough time to find a way to communicate concerns. Many times the HOA has no legal authority to enforce the things brought to their attention. It can feel as though the HOA is a nightmare and you are the only one getting letters. The truth may be simpler than you think, everyone is getting letters and no one else is doing anything about it (THOSE REBELS – Let them deal with the fines).
Besides all of the complaints HOA’s field they have other duties to attend to as well. Such as governing the finances, and keeping the HOA and the HOA grounds properly maintained. Holding public meetings, creating a line of communication between homeowners and the HOA and more. If you have questions, just ask, I’ll be happy to try and help you any way I can.