We often hear that the “HOA Nazis” are out to get them. With nothing better to do with their time, they spend hours upon hours looking for infractions and sending out senseless violation notices. Who are these people and who do they think they are?!?
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s easy to get frustrated when you think your homeowners association is telling you what you can and cannot do with your home … and they are.
Homeowners associations are charged with making sure everyone follows the rules. Property management companies are essential in helping to uniformly enforce the Covenants and Restriction and Rules that govern a community.
Remember, you purchased there for a reason – you liked how the neighborhood looked. It is the job of the HOA and the property management company to keep the association looking as good today as they day you moved in.
Here are four things to do if you receive a Violation Notice from your HOA
Assume positive intent.
Homeowners Associations employ property management companies to assist with uniformly enforcing the neighborhood’s governing documents. One way they do this is by weekly site visits. During these visits your property management company is looking for potential violations of the association’s governing documents. If you receive a notice that you are in violation of a particular rule, assume positive intent. Property Management companies are not paid on commission and they have no stake in the amount of violations that go out weekly. Rather, they are attempting to uniformly enforce the rules of the association so that property values are preserved.
Note, property management companies do not make the rules of the association; they enforce them. The Covenants and Restrictions of your community were likely made by the developer of your subdivision and the rules are made by the Board of Directors for the association.
Review the Notice carefully.
A properly written notice should provide you a clear explanation of the violation, the authority from which the violation notice was drawn and what is needed to bring your property into compliance. So what does that mean? If the notice says that you have a boat or trailer in your yard and that is not allowed, the notice should direct you to the chapter and verse in your Covenants and Restrictions where boat and trailer storage is discussed.
The notice will also set forth deadlines to bring your property into compliance. Failure to do so, or simply ignoring the notice, can and will likely result in fines or further escalation of the matter.
Give us a call.
After you have reviewed the notice and the governing documents for your subdivision if you still do not understand the reason you received a violation, or what is needed to be in compliance, give us a call. We will be glad to explain why the infraction was issued and what you need to do to rectify it.
We are people too! If you know you need some additional time to come into compliance, give us a call and explain the situation. Most property management companies are reasonable and will work with you, within reason, to avoid further escalation of a matter.
Request a copy of governing documents.
At Gulf South Property Management our client’s governing documents are available on our secure homeowner portal. The local courthouse also has a complete and up to date copy of all association governing documents.
Remember, these rules run with the land so you are automatically agreeing to abide by the rules when you purchase a home in a planned community, even if you do not agree with them.
Homeowners should keep a copy of all governing documents and refer to them before beginning a project on your home. The governing documents will set forth what can and cannot be done absent HOA approval. A good property management company also provides the ACC request forms and a quick checklist to ensure your request is properly submitted.
Unapproved projects are remediated at the expense of the homeowner so be sure to ask permission and not forgiveness!