What Happens When Someone Doesn’t Follow the Rules in an HOA?

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Most people who are on HOA boards aren’t there just to enforce the rules. In fact, many of them really don’t enjoy this aspect of their job.

While making people play by the rules is not always fun, it’s an essential task if an HOA is going to function well. It’s also easier if everyone knows what to expect. Here’s what happens in most HOAs when rule-following becomes an issue.

Notice of a Violation

If a person does not pay a regular assessment or a special assessment, or does not follow the rules outlined in the community’s guidelines, the first step is to notify them of the infringement. It may be a simple mistake – for instance, a bank account on autopay may have been changed, or the person who usually mows the lawn has fallen ill.

In these cases, the notice is usually enough to rectify the situation. The person can get the notice, take the necessary steps to fix the problem, and it’s all over.

Hear the Violator Out

If the violator believes that they are in the right or that extenuating circumstances caused their violation, they can appeal to the board or to a committee appointed by the board to hear them out. The rules for making this committee will be outlined in the governing documents and potentially by state and local laws, too.

In most cases, these hearings must be held before the HOA can pursue any other course of action against a homeowner.

Suspension of Privileges

If the hearing goes against the homeowner and money is owed or other violations are not fixed, a person can lose certain privileges in the community. This may involve deactivating their access to common buildings, rooms, amenities, and more. Note that you cannot revoke their right to access their own home.

Send More Notice

Before the board pursues financial recourse against the homeowner, there is usually a minimum number of notices that must be sent. The number may be determined by state law or by the association’s own governing documents.

File a Lien

When money is owed and a homeowner cannot or will not pay, the HOA can put a lien on the homeowner’s house. When the home is next sold, the HOA will be repaid first, before the person sees any profits from that sale.

It’s important to get a lawyer involved at this point, if they have not been part of the process already. This ensures that the lien is legal and conforms to state and local laws.

Potential Foreclosure

In extreme situations, HOAs can be part of foreclosure processing on a home. Once again, it’s key to have lawyers involved at this point to ensure that the homeowner’s rights are respected throughout the process.

If you need help enforcing rules in your HOA, contact us at Advanced Management Inc today. We will help you get the money your association needs with a minimum of hassle for the board and its members.

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