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HOA Sidewalk Maintenance: Whose Responsibility Is It?

HOA sidewalk maintenance is often a topic of debate in planned communities. But, who is really responsible for sidewalks? Is it the HOA, the homeowner, or the city? Let’s find out.


Who Is Responsible for HOA Sidewalk Maintenance?

Is the sidewalk in front of your house your property? If not, is HOA responsible for sidewalks or is the city responsible for sidewalk repair and maintenance? Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to this because it varies depending on the circumstances. In fact, HOA sidewalk repair and maintenance can even be shared responsibilities in some communities.

How do you know who repairs sidewalks in a homeowners association? The first thing to do is to check state law and local legislation. In large cities, the city is typically responsible for HOA sidewalk maintenance when they’re located on public roads. Meanwhile, if the road or sidewalk is private and located in a small town or suburb, it’s usually not the city’s responsibility.

In fact, some states have concretized this. For example, in the case of Qian vs. Toll Brothers, Inc., the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that private sidewalks are the association’s responsibility because they’re part of the common areas.


Check the Governing Documents

If the city is not responsible for HOA sidewalk maintenance, then the burden falls on either the HOA or the homeowner. To verify which of them holds responsibility, it’s imperative to check the governing documents. More specifically, homeowners and board members should check the community plat or map.

The governing documents may consider sidewalks as part of the community’s common areas. In that case, the association is responsible for the HOA sidewalk maintenance. The board needs to hire vendors for cleaning and snow removal to ensure they’re in good shape.

On the other hand, if the community plat considers sidewalks part of the owner’s separate interest, then the homeowner is in charge of maintaining them. They will need to hire vendors separately or maintain the sidewalks themselves.


Cause of Damage and Special Cases

hoa sidewalk repairSometimes, the lines may blur if someone else is directly or indirectly responsible for the damage caused to the sidewalk. For example, let’s say a homeowner planted a tree that damaged the sidewalk as its roots grew.

The sidewalk is considered part of the common areas and is the HOA’s responsibility. However, is the HOA still responsible when the homeowner was the one who planted the tree?

It also depends, again, on state law and the governing documents. Either of these may specifically address damage to HOA or a neighbor’s property. If they don’t, the outcome could change based on many different variables.

For instance, if the homeowner planted the tree on private property, the HOA may have grounds to pass the burden of responsibility to the homeowner. However, if the homeowner planted it in a common area with the board’s approval, it may remain the HOA’s responsibility.

On the other hand, it may not always be that simple. If the HOA left the tree alone for a long time without taking action against the homeowner, the resident may have a defense against the HOA. They could say the HOA sat on their rights for too long and that the homeowner has been prejudiced.

In the end, it will be on a case-to-case basis. If things are unclear, it’s best to consult with an attorney who specializes in these issues.


Why Is Clarifying Responsibilities Necessary?

It’s always important for homeowners and board members to clarify maintenance responsibilities in any community. Leaving it ambiguous could cause disputes in the HOA down the road. Moreover, if the residents think the HOA is responsible when it isn’t (or vice versa), the sidewalks can fall into disrepair. This could affect the community’s curb appeal and even compromise safety.

In addition, it’s best to clarify responsibilities to avoid legal liability. For example, let’s say it often snows in the community. An HOA responsible for sidewalks should maintain it regularly. But if the board is misinformed and believes it is the homeowners’ responsibility, they may face legal liability if someone slips and falls.

The same is true in the reverse. If the homeowners are unaware of their responsibility, they may face a surprise lawsuit if an accident happens. They may blame the HOA without knowing they are, indeed, the ones responsible. This could lead to conflict and multiple lawsuits that could have been avoided.


Maintaining HOA Sidewalks

If the responsibility falls on the HOA, it’s best to stay on top of sidewalk maintenance. As long as the homeowners association does its duty, it shouldn’t face too much liability if someone has an accident. Maintaining the sidewalks will also keep the homeowners happy.

What can the association do to maintain the sidewalks? Firstly, the board will have to inspect the community’s sidewalks for any cracks, damages, or landscaping issues. They need to address these problems as soon as possible to avoid accidents.

Afterward, the HOA must be proactive and schedule regular maintenance activities. They can hire cleaning services or snow removal vendors to regularly maintain the sidewalks. Moreover, they need to set aside a budget for sidewalk maintenance and adjust the assessments accordingly.

On the other hand, if the responsibility is on the homeowners or it is shared, the HOA should clearly communicate this with the community. The board should send reminders to the homeowners and work closely with them to keep the sidewalks in good shape.


Creating a Safe and Harmonious Community

hoa responsible for sidewalksHOA sidewalk maintenance is often a source of conflict in common interest communities. However, HOAs can easily prevent fights from breaking out if they clarify who is responsible for what. This way, everyone is on the same page and knows what their responsibilities are.

Are you an HOA management company or a self-managed homeowners association having trouble with community management? Condo Manager is your key to success. Our HOA management software has all the necessary tools you need to manage a planned community. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to learn more!



How To Remove An HOA Board Member Or Officer?

How do you remove an HOA board member? Homeowners might ask this question when board members aren’t fulfilling their duties. While the process may be challenging, it’s not impossible.


Can an HOA Board Member Be Removed?

At first, removing an HOA board member may seem out of the question, especially since the community elected them. However, it may be possible depending on the reason. The governing documents and state law may outline various acceptable grounds for removing HOA officers.

Many governing documents will allow the community members to remove a board member if they fail to meet certain requirements. For example, if someone doesn’t attend the required number of board meetings, the governing documents may allow the community to remove them. However, removal usually requires approval from a majority of the members. At times, it may require approval from all of the members. Hence, it may be difficult to proceed without support.

Also, state law may allow the community to remove HOA board members or officers under certain conditions. For instance, Florida law states that board members are automatically removed from their position if they’re convicted felons or charged with theft or embezzlement of community funds. They’re also automatically disqualified if they’re delinquent in paying HOA fees.

In some states, the community members can even remove a board member without cause. The law will usually allow this if the HOA meets membership approval requirements. However, checking the governing documents and state laws applicable to your HOA before proceeding is best.


Who Can Remove an HOA Board Member?

If state law and the governing documents allow, the community members can often remove HOA board members. But who else can remove HOA board members aside from the membership? Can an HOA board remove a board member?

It depends. If the HOA Bylaws or Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) allow it, the rest of the board can remove a board member. They will often do so by a majority vote of the remaining directors. The conditions for removal will, again, depend on state law and the governing documents. However, most HOAs only allow the board to remove officers from their positions.

Apart from this, the court can also remove directors. This usually happens as a response to the director’s dishonest or fraudulent actions within the HOA. Depending on state law, they may also be able to remove the board member if they’re convicted or declared to be of unsound mind.

Finally, if the developer or a designator appoints a director, they can often be removed by the person who appointed them.


When Can You Not Remove an HOA Board Member?

There are instances wherein communities cannot remove an HOA board member. For example, the community members might not recall the HOA board member the developer appointed. Community members are also not allowed to remove board members appointed by the court. Usually, only the one who designated them can remove the HOA board officer.


How to Remove an HOA Board Member

Is one of the board members in your HOA community unqualified, negligent, confrontational, or causing more harm than good? Depending on the situation, removing the board member from their position may be wise. If this is what you must do, here’s what you must know about removing a board member from an HOA.


1. Check State Law and the Governing Documents

Removing HOA board members is a serious action, and homeowners must proceed cautiously. It’s best to consult the governing documents first, as there may be a specific procedure homeowners must follow. Homeowners should also check applicable state laws to avoid potential violations and penalties.

When in doubt, you can ask a lawyer specializing in homeowners associations. They should be able to help you understand the proper grounds for removal and identify the next steps.


removing an hoa board member2. Express Your Concern

Homeowners should voice their concerns about the board members before proceeding with the removal. Consider attending a board meeting or writing a letter to the HOA board.

How do I write a letter to remove a board member? First, it’s wise to gather support from fellow homeowners by obtaining signatures for a petition. Make sure to include these signatures in the letter you submit. Also, remember to include the reasons for removal as required by state law or the governing documents.


3. Allow the Director to Respond

The director in question should have an opportunity to respond. They may respond by holding a hearing or simply choosing to resign. The board must notify the homeowners properly if the HOA pushes through with a hearing. During the hearing, the board member can be heard and defend themselves.


3. Hold a Special Meeting

If the board member is to be removed, homeowners usually need to conduct a special meeting to address the removal. The governing documents should outline how homeowners can hold a special meeting and what notices are necessary. They may also indicate how many votes the HOA needs for the motion to pass.


grounds for removal of hoa officers4. Replace the Director

After voting, the homeowners should have a plan to elect a replacement board member. This prevents the HOA from having any vacant positions. Consult the governing documents to ensure you follow the community’s election procedures.


Difficult, But Sometimes Necessary

HOA board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the community’s best interest. However, not all board members align themselves with the HOA’s goals. Some are antagonistic, self-serving, negligent, or even downright dishonest. If peaceful resolutions fail, the community may need to remove an HOA board member.

Whether you’re a self-managed HOA or an HOA management company, it can be hard to oversee a community without the right tools. That’s where HOA management software like Condo Manager can come in. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to book a demo!



Should You Or Should You Not Have An HOA Pool Lifeguard?

Is hiring an HOA pool lifeguard necessary for safety? Homeowners associations must act in the residents’ best interest. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean every community with a pool needs one. HOAs must consider several factors before they hire an HOA pool lifeguard.


Should You Hire an HOA Pool Lifeguard?

Do HOA pools have to have lifeguards? It often depends on the specific circumstances of the community. A dedicated lifeguard has its pros and cons. Before your community rushes to make a decision, consider these factors first.


1. Safety

Drowning is always a big problem when it comes to communities with pools. After all, it’s one of the leading causes of death for young children. That’s why it may be wise for communities with families to hire an HOA pool lifeguard.

A lifeguard can patrol the perimeter, prevent accidents, and save swimmers in case of an emergency. This protects the members from drowning. It also shields the HOA from liability.


2. Training and Certification

An HOA pool lifeguard has to have proper training and certification. Don’t hire someone who claims to be a lifeguard without the proper credentials. Otherwise, you may face liability down the road if a problem arises.

If you’re hiring lifeguards through a vendor, ask the vendor for the lifeguard’s certification. The same is true if you choose to employ an independent lifeguard.


3. Insurance

It’s best to hire a lifeguard with proper insurance coverage. This can keep the homeowners association from encountering legal trouble if something happens.

Often, vendors that provide lifeguards do have insurance coverage. If you hire through a vendor, chances are they’ll be able to give you indemnification when issues occur. However, if you choose to hire independent lifeguards, seek separate lifeguard insurance. It may cost more, but it’ll save you from trouble later on.


4. Cost

Hiring an HOA pool lifeguard may be the best option in some cases. However, certified lifeguards are often quite expensive. This could raise the community’s assessments and increase the residents’ financial burden.

Professionally trained lifeguards for HOAs are also not always available. They may be quite hard to find. Even if you do find one, chances are they charge a high price. You might even be tempted to hire an uncertified lifeguard instead.

When in doubt, only hire a lifeguard if the budget can accommodate it. Don’t hire someone untrained or uncertified, as that could cause more problems down the road. Furthermore, remember to factor in not only the cost of the lifeguard’s compensation but also the cost of insurance, if any.


5. Liability

hoa pool attendantAn HOA pool lifeguard is supposed to save swimmers when they drown. However, if the lifeguard doesn’t have the right training or skills to do so, they might fail at this very task. The HOA may face liability if it hires a lifeguard with no certification. That’s why it’s important to hire someone with training.

Moreover, it’s best to consult with an HOA attorney about potential risks involving lifeguards. Does your association need to hire one? Or is it best to forego the lifeguard? Some residents may take legal action if an accident happens. Consult with your attorney to ensure the HOA is prepared for potential lawsuits.


6. Size of Community

If your HOA consists of only a few homes, a lifeguard may be unnecessary. Smaller communities are often easier to manage and pose fewer safety risks. However, if your HOA has a large population, it may be worth considering. Larger communities are more difficult to manage. It’s not easy to ensure the safety of all residents without one.


7. Legal Requirements

Some states may require the presence of lifeguards under certain conditions. Review the relevant local and state laws with your attorney to ensure compliance. You don’t want to get into legal trouble because you didn’t hire a lifeguard when you were supposed to.

Moreover, remember to review the community’s governing documents. If the CC&Rs or Bylaws require a lifeguard, the HOA board must hire one.


8. Enforcement of Pool Rules

Most communities will have pool rules. These could include implementing pool hours, age restrictions, and rules on swimming alone. However, enforcing these rules is difficult as the board members aren’t always stationed around the pool.

This is where an HOA pool lifeguard can come in handy. These lifeguards can serve as authority figures who can enforce these rules. The residents are less likely to commit violations when someone is watching.


What if the HOA Cannot Afford a Lifeguard?

If the association can’t afford to hire a lifeguard, there are alternative measures the board can take to ensure safety.


1. Hire a Pool Attendant

The board may consider hiring an HOA pool attendant instead of a lifeguard. These attendants may not have the right training to jump in and save lives when someone drowns. However, they can keep an eye on pool activities and keep it clean.

With a pool attendant, residents and their guests can easily find what they need. They know who to turn to when they have questions. Moreover, the pool attendant can enforce the pool rules in place of the lifeguard.


2. Post Clear Signs

Most state laws and governing documents require the HOA to post clear signs around pools. These can include signs indicating pool rules and usage hours. Post them in a visible spot and make them easy to read. This can keep the HOA from facing liability later on.

These requirements may be in place whether or not you have a lifeguard. However, signs become even more vital when there’s no lifeguard. Apart from posting the pool rules, post signs indicating no lifeguard is on duty.


3. Put Flotation Devices Nearby

It’s best to put flotation devices near the water. This can help save the life of a swimmer in case of emergencies. It can make a huge difference in terms of pool safety.


4. Tighten Security

do hoa pools have to have lifeguardsConsider adding lockable gates around the area if your HOA has a pool. This can help the board better regulate pool hours. Make sure to lock the gates during hours when the pool cannot be used. Also, remember to lock the gates when it’s not safe to use the pool, such as during the winter or when there’s an impending thunderstorm or natural disaster.

Alternatively, the HOA can also provide keys or passcodes to gain access to the pool. The HOA can limit the number of people a passcode allows inside the pool area. This can help tighten security and ensure safety.


5. Provide Waivers

Residents should sign waivers annually to ensure they understand the risks of swimming in an unattended HOA pool. This can help the HOA avoid liability if they choose not to hire a lifeguard. Residents may also be more cautious knowing they signed a waiver beforehand.


A Careful Decision

The choice to hire or not can come with its pros and cons — and both can lead to liability in some cases. That’s why homeowners associations must carefully consider all these factors before hiring an HOA pool lifeguard.

Condo Manager is an industry-leading HOA management software that can help both management companies and self-managed communities. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to book a demo!



HOA Disaster Management: Preparing For The Worst

HOA disaster management is a vital part of running a community. The board has to create an emergency plan in case natural disasters or calamities strike. Doing so can help the community navigate the aftermath and quickly get back on its feet.


How to Create an HOA Disaster Management Plan

Natural disasters come and go every year. They can come in small calamities like thunderstorms or larger ones like tornadoes and blazing wildfires.

The most common ones in the United States come in the form of severe thunderstorms. However, certain parts of the country are more prone to specific disasters than others. For example, Alaska has seen the strongest earthquakes from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

Regardless of which calamities are more likely to hit your location, they are nearly impossible to prevent. Nonetheless, there are ways HOAs can prepare for them. Here’s how to prepare for natural disasters in HOA communities and what to do when they strike.


1. Identify Potential Disasters

Part of your HOA emergency preparedness plan should be identifying potential disasters. This means assessing what kind of emergencies will likely impact your community based on location.

For instance, if the HOA is located in a wildfire-prone area, the community must specifically have an HOA disaster management plan for wildfires. Meanwhile, locations prone to hurricanes should have an HOA hurricane preparedness plan.

On the other hand, this doesn’t mean homeowners associations should not create plans for rarer disasters. They should still plan for threats that are less common but still possible. For example, HOAs should also prepare for pandemics or terrorist attacks. While these disasters don’t always happen, the community won’t be left completely vulnerable in case they do.


2. Consider the Community’s Age and Languages

Some communities primarily comprise young families, while others have more elderly members. Remember to consider the age and demographic of the community members and factor them into the community disaster plan. For example, if the community mostly comprises older people, it’s best to think about mobility and accessibility issues.

Apart from this, it’s vital to consider the languages the community speaks. If the community is diverse, the HOA should consider publishing the HOA disaster management plan in different languages.


3. Create an Emergency Plan

Emergency Response PlanOnce the community has identified the potential threats, the HOA board should create various disaster emergency plans. It should contain all the necessary plans, including evacuation, recovery, and insurance policies.

Moreover, the board members should clearly outline their responsibilities during the emergency. This will allow all the residents to understand the board’s role during a disaster. It should also help the community understand what to do before, during, and after the calamity.


4. Communicate the Plan to the Members

The community members must be aware of the HOA’s disaster management plan. Otherwise, the residents may not know what to do during an emergency.

To do this, the board should organize meetings to educate the members. They should also disseminate the information through the HOA website and newsletter. They can also send them emergency plans through email or post them on social media.

Additionally, larger communities with ample funds may consider using electronic emergency alert systems. These systems can send emergency texts and emails to residents about emergencies. This keeps residents informed of emergencies as they happen. Just make sure to keep the contact list updated.


5. Inspect the HOA

Disasters might not be preventable, but the degree of property damage can be mitigated. The HOA must regularly inspect the association’s equipment and common areas to ensure they’re in proper working condition. Doing so can minimize injury and further damage.

Moreover, doing this due diligence allows the HOA to reduce legal liability. Many homeowners file lawsuits against their homeowners association on the grounds of negligence. However, they may be unable to accuse the HOA if the board regularly conducts community inspections.


6. Plan for Repairs

Natural disasters bring damage to community common areas and equipment. The HOA must be prepared to shoulder the cost of repairs, reconstruction, and replacements. The board must conduct a proper reserve study and ensure the reserves are well funded. This reduces the community’s financial burden and limits unwanted special assessments.


7. Build a Budget

disaster fundsEmergencies cost a lot in repairs and replacement projects. Therefore, the board should set aside funds as part of the community budget to account for potential disasters. Moreover, the board should answer a few key questions related to budgeting, including:

  • When should the HOA provide financial assistance to its members?
  • Do the HOA fees cover community amenity repairs and replacements?
  • What is the repair and replacement process after a disaster?
  • How will the HOA earn enough money to cover the emergency budget?
  • Which items should the HOA prioritize during an emergency?


What to Include in an HOA Emergency Plan

An HOA disaster management plan can be difficult to create. There are too many things to prepare for and write down. However, there are some key issues that every HOA must address and include in their emergency plan.


1. Emergency Contact List

Every homeowners association should have a list of contacts for emergencies. This helps the residents know who to call during certain situations. Consider including the following:

  • HOA point persons, including the HOA manager, board members, and maintenance staff
  • Local authorities
  • Nearby medical facilities
  • CERTs or community emergency response teams
  • Vendors
  • HOA attorneys or law firm representatives
  • Insurance agents
  • Homeowner emergency contact information

Make sure to include their mobile and landline numbers. The HOA should also include alternative communication methods if there is no reception during the emergency. For instance, the board can also include information about communicating with handheld radios.


2. Area Maps

The residents of an HOA should know where to head in case of emergency. Thus, including a map of the area and highlighting designated meeting places is vital.

The board can also consult local authorities to identify the safest meeting places. Moreover, the HOA should include where to find shut-off points for electricity, water, and gas to prevent further injury and destruction.


3. Evacuation Plan

Each HOA disaster management plan must include an evacuation plan. It should include specific directions and conditions wherein an evacuation is necessary. The plan should include nearby shelters, stores, and generator-powered gas stations. Moreover, they should outline how HOA members will be accounted for.


4. Recovery and Response Plans

Recovery and Response PlansOnce it’s safe, the HOA should assess the damage to the community as soon as possible. As such, the community must plan how to recover and rebuild the neighborhood.

The HOA must have plans for displaced residents. Moreover, it must indicate when and how residents can enter damaged homes to salvage their valuables. The HOA must also outline the professional inspections required for residents to return home.

Finally, the association must have arrangements with partner engineers, contractors, vendors, and architects to help the community rebuild. They should also be in contact with a professional debris management company to clear scattered objects.


5. Insurance Policies

Any responsible HOA board will have the proper insurance policies to help the community rebuild after a disaster. This reduces the community’s financial burden when the HOA needs major repairs.

Remember to check the community’s insurance policies and ensure they’re updated. Keep a copy of them securely or reproduce them digitally for safekeeping. Moreover, remember to write down the claiming process so the HOA can file insurance claims quickly.


Don’t Neglect Emergency Planning

Calamities can strike at any time. They do not care about what an HOA is going through physically or financially. Hence, it’s best to stay prepared and draft an HOA disaster management plan before things get ugly.

It can be hard for the board to prepare for disasters and juggle community responsibilities. Why not consider HOA management software like Condo Manager to lift some of the burden? Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to schedule a demo!



How To Choose The Right HOA Contractors To Deal With

Choosing the right HOA contractors is essential to community success. It could make or break the community’s curb appeal and lead to financial losses. How can HOAs pick the right HOA contractor? Let’s find out.


Choosing Good HOA Contractors

Choosing the right contractor can be challenging, especially if the association doesn’t already have a working relationship with reliable vendors. Picking the wrong one can put stress on the board and homeowners. Moreover, it wastes the HOA’s money and may result in liability.

Is your HOA hiring contractors? If so, what should the board members do to ensure they choose the right ones? Here are some steps the association should take.


1. Check the Governing Documents

The governing documents should contain HOA contractor guidelines to help the board understand what vendors they must hire. These documents should outline the association’s maintenance responsibilities and the services it must provide.

If the board is having trouble understanding the intent of the governing documents, they can also seek help from an HOA management company or HOA attorney. These professionals can help ensure they fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to the community.


Allot a Budget for the Contractor2. Allot a Budget for the Contractor

One of the most important parts of hiring contractors for your HOA is setting the right budget. The board must do its best to protect the community’s interest.

To avoid overspending, the board members should allot a concrete budget for the HOA contractors they will hire. The budget must be high enough to hire a reliable contractor without breaking the bank.


3. Get Quotes from Many HOA Contractors

Signing an HOA contractor agreement with the first vendor you find is usually a bad idea. That’s because the first contractor isn’t always the best choice. The board members should obtain quotes from at least three contractors before signing a contract. Consider getting referrals from friends, fellow homeowners, or HOA management companies.

Afterward, the board should send a request for proposal (RFP) to each contractor. The RFP should contain the HOA’s expectations from the vendor. Once the HOA receives the quotations, the board can evaluate them based on price, service inclusions, and quality. They can also interview each contractor’s representative to understand what they’ll get from the deal.


4. Check References

Consider it a red flag if a contractor refuses to provide references. However, if the contractor does give references, the board should diligently call or meet with these former clients to ask about their experiences. This should help the board gauge whether or not the contractor delivers good service.

If the board wants to be sure, they can also ask the contractor to provide addresses of similar projects nearby. Ideally, the projects should be ongoing or just recently completed. The board can visit these sites and speak with each neighborhood’s HOA members to evaluate the contractor if possible.


5. Verify Licenses, Credentials, and Insurance

It’s not enough for contractors to provide good service. They should also have the right licenses and credentials required by the industry. The contractor should also have proper general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.

For some, an HOA using unlicensed contractors might be a non-issue. However, doing so puts the HOA at risk of lawsuits if there are injuries or property damage during the project. While the HOA’s insurance policy might cover the association, it’s best to pass the cost onto the contractor and their insurance company.


6. Verify Subcontractor Bonding

Some HOA contractors might hire subcontractors to fulfill certain parts of the job. If this is the case, the homeowners association should make sure the contractor is bonded. This means the subcontractor will be subject to the same requirements as the main contractor.


Create a Written Contract7. Create a Written Contract

Hiring contractors based on verbal agreements may be tempting, but it’s generally not wise. Written contracts will protect the HOA as they outline the agreement’s various terms, prices, and payment methods.

Moreover, it’s best to establish a clear scope of work in the contract to avoid misunderstandings. This lets both parties completely understand what will be done and how much it will cost. The parties can also establish the pricing in case of extra services performed.


8. Negotiate the Price

Negotiating a contract can be difficult. However, it’s a good idea to try, as negotiating the price can save a lot of money down the road. The board shouldn’t hesitate to ask for discounts or about bulk pricing. This is especially true if the community is large and requires continuous work from the contractor.


9. Final Review

Before signing the contract, make sure to go through the terms with an experienced HOA attorney. They can help spot loopholes or other potential problems in the contract terms. Once everything seems ironed out, it’s time to sign the agreement.


10. Communicate Regularly

Most homeowners associations might think the process stops at the contract signing. However, it’s crucial to continue communicating with the contractor during the course of the project. This ensures that the community is kept informed of the project’s progress.

Moreover, continuing communication will allow the HOA to gauge the contractor is responsiveness. Do they answer the HOA’s questions or respond to concerns? How is their customer service? Good contractors stay responsive even after the contract signing.

If they become unresponsive or uncommunicative, it may eventually pose problems for the association. As a result, the HOA can re-evaluate its relationship with the contractor and find a new one, if necessary.


Hiring HOA Contractors the Right Way

If the HOA board is the community’s brain, HOA contractors are the internal organs. They keep the community well-maintained and functioning properly. That’s why HOAS need to choose the right ones to work with carefully.

Homeowners associations work with many contractors to run the community. This can be confusing, especially for large communities with more projects. A reliable program like Condo Manager can help if your community is having trouble. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to request a demo!



Crime Prevention In HOAs: Keeping The Neighborhood Safe

Crime prevention in HOA communities should be a top priority for the board members. Otherwise, the community’s residents won’t feel safe even in their own neighborhood. This can significantly impair an HOA’s ability to attract new buyers and maintain property values.


10 Tips for Crime Prevention in HOA Communities

Whether it’s something major like theft or something minor like vandalism, the homeowners association should take measures to prevent any kind of crime. Not only will repeated crime necessitate more insurance policies and coverage, but it may also damage the community’s overall well-being.

Thankfully, several ways to prevent crime in an HOA community exist. Here are some HOA crime prevention tips to keep in mind.


1. Encourage Neighborliness

The United States is generally known for being a neighborly nation. However, not everyone is neighborly. Many may not even want to get to know their fellow community members. Even if you live in the most neighborly cities in America, encouraging neighborliness is helpful for crime prevention in HOA communities.

That’s because when everyone knows everyone else, they’re less likely to commit crimes against them. They can also more easily ask for help from their neighbors. Friendly neighbors might help others collect their mail while they’re away. This can prevent potential theft or other misdeeds.

To encourage neighborliness, consider conducting more community events. For example, the HOA can host Thanksgiving activities during the holidays. They can also host a simple BBQ with all the community members.


2. Keep the HOA Clean

It might not seem like an intuitive part of HOA security, but keeping the community clean can help. This is because potential offenders might target more run-down neighborhoods. After all, unruly or unkempt parks and landscapes allow them to hide. Make sure to plant thorny shrubs around the perimeter. It can also help to trim overgrown hedges and trees to eliminate points of entry.


Install Adequate Lighting3. Install Adequate Lighting

Criminals love to hide and do their business in the dark. They can’t get caught that way. Thus, HOA needs to install enough lighting fixtures around the common areas. Moreover, they should encourage the community residents to keep their porch lights on during the night. The board should communicate how important this is in keeping their community safe.


4. Lock the Gates

Gated communities should always keep the gates locked when not in use. Even if leaving them open is more convenient, it’s not safe. It might also help to hire security guards to man the gates or any other entry or exit points.

Remember to remind the community members to lock their homes, gates, and garages. They should also lock their cars and keep the windows closed if they habitually keep them unlocked for easy access. Living in a gated community might feel safer, but it’s never a guarantee that there won’t be criminal activity.


Install Alarm Systems and CCTVs5. Install Alarm Systems and CCTVs

Burglars and other criminals are less likely to target homes within the HOA if it has alarm systems. Consider investing in good-quality ones that can be installed around the neighborhood. If the homeowners association has the budget, they can also consider installing CCTVs to monitor public spaces.


6. Educate the Members to Coordinate With Local Law Enforcement

Every homeowners association has a certain responsibility to keep the community secure. However, nothing beats having proactive community residents fighting crime alongside the HOA. No, this doesn’t mean the residents should join the police force to keep the community safe.

However, it means that the HOA should educate the residents to work with local law enforcement. Remind them to report any activity that seems suspicious or out of place. Even if the act seems minor, it could save a life or property.

Moreover, the HOA should give all residents with emergency and non-emergency phone numbers to call in sticky situations. The board can also partner with local law enforcement to host crime prevention activities if possible. For example, they can create a seminar discussing police tips for HOA security.


Create a Neighborhood Watch7. Create a Neighborhood Watch

Passive forms of security might be helpful enough for many communities. However, if the HOA wants even better security, they can organize a neighborhood watch. Doing so can bring the community together as they plan and organize how to make it much safer. It can also deter potential offenders as they know the homeowners themselves are on alert.


8. Be Well-Informed of News and Trends

Crime prevention in HOA communities can be made much easier if the board stays informed of current trends and crime news. Remember to pay extra attention to what’s happening locally.

Perhaps there’s a trend of thieves stealing packages from porches going around the greater area. Ensure that the members are educated on keeping themselves and their property safe. Furthermore, there’s more traffic and visitors during certain times of the year. It’s best to enact specific security protocols or rules to keep the neighborhood safe in these cases.


9. Enforce the Rules

HOA rule enforcementIt’s the board’s responsibility to enforce the HOA rules. This may be difficult to do all the time, especially for large communities. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to assume people will follow the rules given by the homeowners association. The board should proactively check for any potential violations.

Doing this not only promotes harmony but also ensures the community’s safety. After all, many of the community’s rules exist to promote safety and security. For instance, rules regarding pool hours might seem strict to some, but they can prevent potential accidents and reduce liability.


10. Create Safety Protocols for Vacations

Many residents go on vacation and leave their homes unattended. However, empty homes are vulnerable to theft, vandalism, and damage. That’s why many robberies happen during the holidays or vacation seasons.

When vacation season approaches, it’s crucial for HOAs to create safety protocols for homeowners to follow. Educate the residents to watch for signs that their neighbors are on vacation. Please encourage them to keep a lookout and pick up their mail while the neighbors are out.

If possible, neighbors can also park their cars on the driveway of the residents who are on vacation. This can make the house look occupied even when nobody’s there.


Keeping the Neighborhood Safe

Crime prevention in HOA communities is vital to maintaining property values and keeping the residents happy. Nobody wants to live in an unsafe and insecure environment, after all. The HOA board should take the necessary steps to keep the neighborhood safe to the best of their ability.

Managing a homeowners association can be tough to do alone. However, with an HOA management software like Condo Manager, it can become an absolute breeze. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online for more information!



What Is Encroachment In HOA Communities? How To Resolve This Issue?

It’s not uncommon to find issues involving encroachment in HOA communities. The homeowners or even the HOA may encroach on another homeowner’s property. When this happens, it’s important for HOAs to know how to handle the situation.


What Is Encroachment in HOA Communities?

Encroachment in HOA communities happens when someone goes onto another person’s property without consent. This can happen when a person steps foot on someone else’s property without permission. However, in HOAs, it often happens when a homeowner’s home or belongings cross the boundary lines onto a neighbor’s property.

Usually, encroachment of land by neighbor happens when a homeowner’s fence, garden, patio, roof overhang, or landscaping crosses property boundaries. It often also occurs when vegetation from one property begins to grow on or cross into another property.

One of the most common HOA encroachment issues involves encroaching trees. That’s because trees can fall onto a neighbor’s property when they become unsteady. A homeowner’s tree branches may also hang over property that is not theirs. These become especially problematic when they interfere with the neighbor’s use of property.


Easements: Acceptable Encroachments

There are times when minor encroachments are permitted in HOA communities. When a homeowner or the HOA has the legal right to cross property lines or make limited use of someone else’s property, it’s called an easement.

The community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) often contain an HOA encroachment policy to address these easements. For example, a property owner’s overhanging roof may be allowed to encroach on neighbor or association property if the homeowner’s wall sits on the property line.

Other common examples of permissible encroachment include allowance for community members to plant gardens in the HOA’s common areas. If the governing documents allow this, homeowners cannot be penalized for the act.


HOA Common Area Encroachment

Encroachment issues happen not just between homeowners. At times, some homeowners may even encroach onto common areas. While there may be easements for these types of encroachments, this is not always the case.

Moreover, how much common area encroachment is acceptable will vary from HOA to HOA. They may also differ when it comes to obtaining permission.

For example, some communities may allow homeowners to plant gardens in common areas as long as they obtain permission. They can submit a request to the HOA board to do so. The board may allow the action under certain conditions. Meanwhile, other communities are stricter and do not allow this, even if the homeowner asks for permission from the HOA board.


How to Handle Property Encroachment

Homeowners associations may be at a loss when these issues arise. The board members and homeowners may not always know what to do about encroachment. How do you resolve an encroachment issue in your community? Here are some basic guidelines to follow.


1. Review the Property Boundaries

The first step to resolving encroachments is to review the property boundaries. Those on the receiving end of the encroachment should do this to verify whether or not the encroachment exists. Otherwise, they may be wasting time engaging in a conflict with their neighbor, who indeed had the right to use said property.

Apart from those affected by the encroachment, HOAs should encourage everyone in the community to review their property boundaries. The board should also remind them of the HOA’s rules and regulations regarding encroachments. To avoid any mishaps, the board can tell the homeowners to put everything in writing before starting any home improvement projects.


2. Never Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

Homeowners who face encroachment should never take matters into their own hands. For example, a neighbor’s tree may be encroaching on your property. In these cases, it’s best not to cut off the tree’s branches or limbs without first talking to the neighbor.

This can result in legal liability. The person who cut off the tree’s limbs may need to pay damages and even attorney’s fees. In fact, certain states even have laws that address this specific issue. For example, the Code of Alabama imposes fines on those who cut certain trees on property not their own.


3. Engage in Informal Discussion

how to handle property encroachmentWhen it comes to resolving encroachment in HOA communities, the best place to start is by engaging in informal discussions. The affected party should approach the encroacher. They may simply be unaware of the encroachment and can quickly resolve the issue.

In many cases, simply talking to the other party settles the problem. The parties can often come to an agreement themselves without involving anyone else. For example, the person affected may choose to provide written permission or even sell part of the property to the other party. Regardless of the resolution, informal discussions help both parties avoid unnecessary conflict or a lengthy and expensive legal battle.


4. Use the HOA’s Dispute Resolution Mechanisms

If the matter cannot be resolved between the two homeowners, they can use the HOA’s dispute resolution mechanisms. Many homeowners associations outline a dispute resolution process in their governing documents. These often involve letting the homeowners submit a written complaint to the HOA board. The board will then review the issue at hand and help the neighbors resolve the issue.

If internal dispute resolution does not work, the HOA board may also use mediation or arbitration. This allows the homeowners to resolve the dispute without going to court. These methods allow a neutral third party to act as an intermediary between the affected parties.


5. Legal Action

As a last resort, homeowners may take legal action to resolve the encroachment issue. The court can decide for the parties and force compliance. However, this process can be lengthy and costly for the parties involved.


Common Encroachment Resolutions

When the board intervenes in encroachment issues, they often resolve the problem in a few different ways. The most common resolution they use is to ask the homeowner to remove the encroachment. They may issue a violation notice and ask the homeowner to comply.

After giving notice and holding a hearing, the offending homeowner may also face HOA fines. Some homeowners associations also remove the encroachment themselves and send the bill to the offending homeowner.


A Fine Line

There is a fine line between property boundaries in homeowners associations. Not all homeowners are aware of these boundary lines, and even when they are, they may still intentionally try to encroach on other people’s property. Regardless of whether the act was intentional, the board should always address encroachment in HOA communities reasonably.

Managing violations related to encroachment can be hard for homeowners associations. With HOA management software like Condo Manager, handling these issues becomes much less of a problem. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to find out more!



HOA Disputes: What’s The Proper Way To Handle These?

HOA disputes are a common occurrence in planned communities. Neighbors will often butt heads over many different things. Sometimes, homeowners will even fight with the HOA board members. HOAS need to know how to handle these disputes the right way.


Internal Process: HOA Dispute Resolution Policy

In many communities, the governing documents, such as the bylaws, CC&Rs, and rules and regulations, may outline procedures for an HOA’s internal process for disputes. For example, the method may include an informal meeting between the homeowner and the HOA board. In HOA neighbor disputes, the board often acts as an intermediary.

In addition, some states have legislation that includes processes to resolve an HOA dispute. For instance, California’s Civil Code Section 5930 contains anti-lawsuit legislation. It requires HOAs and their members to undergo alternative dispute resolution measures before engaging in litigation. Indiana also has a new HOA statute, HEA 1286, that requires homeowners and HOAs to pursue a formal grievance process. The parties can only file lawsuits if the formal process is unsuccessful. When these provisions exist, HOAs must include them in their internal policy for resolving HOA disputes.

Unfortunately, not all governing documents and HOAs have internal dispute resolution policies. In such cases, adopting one in case conflict arises would be better. Here is a general HOA dispute resolution guideline communities can adopt.


1. Receiving Complaints or Appeals for Dispute Resolution

The process often begins when the board receives a written request for dispute resolution or HOA intervention. If the board receives a verbal complaint, they may choose to document it to keep a record of all the events. HOA board members can also require the members to submit requests in writing to formalize the process and ensure a record of all disputes.


2. Finding the Facts

HOA ArbitrationThe HOA board should assign someone to investigate the complaints received. This person may be a board member or other volunteer. If the dispute is between a homeowner and the HOA board, the person assigned should be a neutral third party to avoid conflicts of interest. They can appoint the HOA manager or even the homeowner association attorney.

Regardless, this person’s job will be gathering information about the dispute. It should be done promptly so the issue resolves quickly. The person in charge can do this by interviewing the two parties involved in the dispute. They can also collect information from other sources like event witnesses or CCTV footage, if necessary. Moreover, they should document and sort all the files so the board can review them properly.


3. Deciding Whether to Intervene

The board should arrange a meeting where the person appointed will present all the information they acquired. During the meeting, the board can decide whether it needs formal intervention from the HOA. A lawyer for HOA dispute resolution can also attend to provide legal counsel.

After the review, the board will provide a written notice of their decision. For example, they may write a violation notice to the offending homeowner. This notice may include a warning, fines, or restrictions of rights and privileges.

The decision may be left to a neutral third party if the dispute is between the board and a homeowner. Again, this can be the HOA dispute attorney or HOA management company. This person can offer an unbiased resolution that considers both sides. Likewise, they can write this at the end of the meeting.


4. Negotiation

Some HOA disputes need more careful attention. In these cases, the board can meet with the parties involved to hear all sides of the story. They can also present any remedies they might consider to the affected homeowners.

The board needs to remain neutral and objective during these negotiations. The goal must be to resolve the dispute. Ideally, all parties will agree at the end, which the board will put into writing. The neighbors can sign this agreement to acknowledge their consent.


Alternative Dispute Resolution

Homeowners association disputes may not always end with a simple negotiation. When the internal process fails, it may be time to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This allows the HOA to resolve an issue with outside help.


hoa MediationMediation

The first ADR the association can consider is mediation. This involves a third party that listens to both sides of the story. They will mediate, assisting both parties in finding a compromise. However, the mediator cannot force either side to resolve the dispute. The parties must come to a resolution together.



In arbitration, the third party also listens to both sides of the story. They can review the arguments and evidence either side presents. However, unlike mediation, the arbiter decides how to resolve the dispute. If the arbitration is mandatory, the arbiter’s decision is often final. The parties cannot take the dispute further and file a lawsuit just because they dislike the decision.


Dispute Resolution via Litigation

ADR mechanisms exist to prevent HOA disputes from escalating and being brought to court. However, there are times when this does happen within the HOA community. Homeowners may sue their neighbors, or the litigation may be between the homeowners and the HOA board.

In these cases, the court examines the evidence and decides the resolution. They may order specific performance so the homeowner will abide by the rule laid out. The court may also impose injunctions wherein the HOA cannot engage in a specific activity.

While litigation may be effective at resolving disputes once and for all, they are generally not ideal for anyone involved. That’s because lawsuits are long, tiring, and expensive. Hence, litigation must be a last resort for resolving HOA disputes.


Promoting Community Harmony

HOA disputes are inevitable in many homeowners association communities. Wherever people gather, there will always be disagreements and conflicts. It’s up to the HOA to resolve these disputes fairly and in a timely manner. The board should always prioritize community harmony, justice, and peace.

HOA disputes arise for several reasons, including mismanagement of the community. That’s why homeowners associations can benefit from using dedicated HOA management software like Condo Manager. Contact us online or call us now at (800) 626-1267 to find out more!



HOA Work Orders: The Best Ways To Handle And Manage Them

HOA work orders are a vital part of managing a community. They help the association ensure that all maintenance work is completed. As a result, the HOA can remain in good condition.


What Are HOA Work Orders?

Homeowners associations need to maintain the community’s common areas to keep property values high. This also ensures that the HOA’s members are satisfied with the association. But, managing maintenance can be a difficult task. There is a lot of work to be done, especially for larger communities.

This is where work orders come in. An HOA work order is a formal request for repair, operations, or maintenance work the association needs. It initiates the repairs or maintenance task and clarifies the details of the job.

A work order includes all the information related to the task requested and outlines the process. Moreover, it includes other details such as the requester’s name, the authorizer’s name, the assignee, and deliverables. It may also include drawings, special instructions, and the expected end results.


HOA Work Orders vs Service Requests

Homeowners association work orders are different from service requests. Some management companies and HOAs may use the terms interchangeably but differ in purpose and format. Service requests are simply forms or requests submitted by residents. They submit the service request to the HOA so the board or management company can fix the problem.

Meanwhile, HOA work orders are generated by the HOA manager or an officer responsible for overseeing maintenance. They create the work order only after approving the service request sent by the homeowner. The work order may also need approval from the HOA board before the work can begin.


Why Is HOA Work Order Management Important?

handling hoa work order requestsHOA work order management is an essential part of running a homeowners association. That’s because dozens or even hundreds of service requests and work orders can come in at a time. Without a proper system, the HOA or management company can easily be overloaded with too many maintenance jobs.

In addition, proper work order management helps the HOA keep track of all the maintenance jobs that have been completed or are currently in progress. This helps uncover problem areas in community property. For example, if there have been too many recent work orders involving the piping system, it may be a sign of a larger issue. The community may need to use its reserve funds to replace its piping system or other infrastructure to minimize long-term costs.

Managing work orders is vital to preserving property value and upholding the association’s reputation. After all, the HOA is in charge of the community’s upkeep. Without proper work order organization, it may be hard to fulfill all the service requests promptly. This can leave the community in disarray and disrepair.


What to Include In a Work Order

A good work order for HOAs must include all the important details involving the maintenance task. Homeowners associations and HOA management companies must include the following information:

  • Order number
  • Who benefits from the job
  • Vendor, contractor, or personnel in charge of completing the task
  • Authorizer
  • Job location
  • Approval date
  • Date of the order’s issuance
  • Expected start and end dates
  • Terms of service
  • Maintenance task description
  • Hourly rates for the task
  • Required materials
  • Cost of materials
  • Total cost

Adding all this information helps reduce misunderstandings between the contractor and HOA. It also ensures that both parties can clearly understand what the job entails and how much it costs. Moreover, they can anticipate the job’s length and schedule each task accordingly. This allows the association to maintain the community without too many jobs conflicting or coinciding.


How to Manage HOA Work Orders

Handling HOA work order requests is no easy feat. It’s important to have an efficient system in place to keep things organized.


1. Easy Request Process

A good HOA work order system begins with an easy request process. Service request forms should be easily accessible to all residents. Moreover, the request forms should be easy to understand and fill out. Ideally, the residents should also be able to track their service requests to know when the HOA will complete the job.

Make sure to assign an officer or board member to oversee service requests. This allows the community to approve or disapprove requests much faster. It minimizes backlogs and ensures the community is always on top of all the necessary maintenance jobs.


2. Create a Complete HOA Work Order Form

After receiving the service request, the HOA must create a complete work order form that includes all relevant information. Make sure the form is as detailed as possible. The work order should also include photos of the problem areas to help the association and its vendors understand what needs to be fixed. Moreover, the residents should be able to access the work order to fully understand what the request entails.

If the association can afford it, they may automate work orders to speed up the process. Reliable software can easily turn service requests into HOA work orders. This allows the community to streamline the entire process. It’s also more manageable and trackable as HOAs can quickly refer to the system to find all the work orders created.


3. Have a List of Vendors Ready

Homeowners associations should have an updated list of vetted contractors and vendors at the ready. Furthermore, they can hire on-site maintenance staff to address smaller maintenance jobs. This allows the HOA to assign each job without delay. It also ensures that the work is always up to standard.


4. Receive Feedback

After each maintenance job is completed, consider allowing residents to submit a feedback form. This allows the HOA to understand what is working and what needs to be improved in their work order management process. It also ensures transparency and helps residents trust the association more.


5. Conduct Regular Inspections

hoa vendor managementHomeowners associations should conduct regular inspections of community property. This limits the number of service requests that come in and keeps maintenance work to a minimum. It can also save money in the long run.

Consider scheduling inspections at least twice a month. The community may also need to conduct frequent inspections for fixtures or properties more prone to degradation or damage. For example, older buildings may need more attention than newly built structures.


Keep Your HOA In Good Condition

Managing HOA work orders is the key to keeping the community well-maintained. Otherwise, the association may easily fall into chaos with too many service requests or unclear job descriptions. Proper work order management can also ensure that the community’s maintenance requests are fulfilled in a timely manner.

However, managing HOA work orders manually can be challenging, especially for larger communities. Condo Manager can help. Our HOA management software can automate and streamline your work orders and the entire maintenance process. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online today!



HOA Violation Process: What’s The Right Way To Handle HOA Violations?

The HOA violation process is among the most challenging parts of managing a community. HOA managers and board members have a duty to enforce rules and promptly handle violations. But, they must also be careful to follow due process to keep things fair and avoid liability.


HOA Violation Process

The HOA violation process can be tricky to get right. But, there is a proper procedure for handling offenses made by community members. Here is how to handle HOA violations the right way.


1. Check the Governing Documents

When someone makes a violation report against a resident, it’s best to check the governing documents first. Thoroughly review all the rules in the CC&Rs or bylaws to verify the violation’s legitimacy. The governing documents may also contain enforcement policies that the HOA board must follow.


2. Send a Warning Letter

HOA Violation Warning LetterAfter verifying the violation’s validity, board members might think holding a hearing is the next step in processing HOA violations. But, not all violations require a hearing. That’s because some violations are not as severe. A simple warning letter may be enough depending on the rule being broken and the resident’s violation history.

For example, let’s say the association limits the types of plants homeowners can have in their yards. But, a homeowner is unaware of this rule and decides to plant a prohibited flower. In this case, the HOA may issue a warning letter to ask them to correct their mistake. This allows the HOA to resolve the issue more peacefully without escalating minor violations.


3. Send an HOA Violation Notice

If the homeowner does not listen to the warning letter or the violation is serious, it’s time to take further action. Part of HOA violations processing involves holding a hearing. But, before the HOA can do this, the board must first issue a notice of violation.

The notification process may differ from association to association. Some states regulate the way notices are sent. For example, California’s Civil Code Section 5855 specifically states that homeowners associations must send a written notice to violators 10 days before a hearing. Meanwhile, other states have less formal regulations regarding violation notices. The HOA’s governing documents often dictate the notification method and timeline in these cases.

Regardless, sending a notice to homeowners will help them stay informed of their violations. It also gives them enough time to plan and adjust their schedule to attend the hearing.


4. Hold a Hearing

After sending the notice comes the HOA hearing process. This is simply a meeting between the offending resident and the HOA board. It aims to establish the violation’s validity and give the homeowner a chance to explain their side. Homeowners can then present reasonable arguments against the violation and present evidence that may affect the board’s final decision.


5. Make a Decision

After the hearing, the board must render a written decision within the timeframe outlined in the CC&Rs. Depending on how the hearing went, the board may determine that there was no violation after reviewing the homeowner’s evidence. But, they may issue HOA violation fines for non-compliance or if the homeowner doesn’t rectify the problem if the violation was found to be valid.


6. Appeal and Dispute Resolution

HOA Violation Appeal and Dispute Resolution

Once the decision is made, homeowners still have the right to appeal. This is usually determined by the HOA’s governing documents or state law. A homeowner may contest the decision because it is unreasonable or discriminatory. For example, one other resident may have committed the same offense but did not receive the same punishment.

On the other hand, the association may not have followed the proper procedure for sending notices or conducting hearings. As such, the HOA may need to reissue the notice with the right information within the proper time frame. They may need to undergo the process again.

HOA board members need to make decisions consistently and follow proper procedures. They must not decide arbitrarily or behave unreasonably when issuing notices or enforcing rules. Otherwise, this may waste the association’s time or cause more conflict.

In some states, homeowners associations can resolve disputes through arbitration or mediation. The process will include a mediation panel that can resolve the issue. Members can visit the American Arbitration Association website for resources and more information.


7. Suspend Rights and Privileges

If the homeowner refuses to pay the fees or comply with the decision, the HOA may suspend their rights and privileges. This involves prohibiting them from using amenities like pools, gyms, or clubhouses. It may also involve suspending them from community events or revoking their voting privileges.

Suspending a homeowner’s rights and privileges can pressure them to comply with the HOA. It will push them to correct their violation and pay whatever fines they owe the association. Once they rectify the issue, the suspensions may be lifted, and they can enjoy their rights and privileges again.


8. Take Legal Action

Finally, the homeowners association may take legal action and file a lawsuit to force compliance. In certain cases, they may also place a lien on the homeowner’s property. Taking legal action should be a last resort as litigation is long, expensive, and can lead to negative feelings within the community. It is not something HOAs must decide on lightly.

Moreover, there may be certain caveats to taking legal action. For example, the homeowners association may be in trouble if the violation isn’t found to be completely valid. They may also be liable if they did not follow due process. The board should always consult their HOA attorney and management company before proceeding with litigation.


Creating a Peaceful Community

Following the proper HOA violation process is vital to creating a peaceful community. After all, the rules are there for a reason and can promote order within the neighborhood. Proper and unbiased rule enforcement can help maintain the community’s reputation, property values, and security. It can also foster a sense of trust in the HOA’s leadership.

Are you struggling with enforcing rules? Condo Manager can help. We offer industry-leading HOA management software for management companies and self-managed communities. Call us today at 800-626-1267 or get in touch with us online for a free demo!