Living in a community with a homeowners association (HOA) can sometimes be a challenge. There are more than enough stories from homeowners detailing strict fines and difficulty dealing with board members. There are just as many stories from board members about homeowners who don’t follow the rules.
HOA rules exist for a reason. They keep the neighborhood safe, protect property values and create a sense of community among the people who live there. Even people who don’t like dealing with an HOA appreciate these benefits. So what’s an association to do when homeowners keep breaking the rules? You may improve compliance simply by taking a closer look at the rules in question.
- Keep the Rules Simple
Writing HOA rules can be tricky. They need to be specific enough so homeowners understand exactly what’s expected from them, but they also have to be understandable. Homeowners may have trouble following rules that are too complicated or vague—even if they want to comply. You can avoid this by using simple language.
- Communicate With Homeowners
Homeowners cannot follow the rules if they don’t know what they are. Each time you update a rule, you have to tell them about the changes. In a perfect world, they would all participate in HOA meetings where you discuss these updates. If that doesn’t happen, you have to use other methods—email, newsletters, and fliers—to let members know what’s going on.
- Enforce the Rules Impartially
A common complaint about HOA rules is that boards either do not enforce them or do so unfairly. When this happens, the residents have little incentive to follow the rules. For example, if the rule states that improperly parked cars will be towed within 24 hours, the vehicles should be towed within the stated time frame. You can’t tow some vehicles and let others stay if you expect everyone to comply.
- Change Unreasonable Rules
Sometimes the problem is the rule itself. Residents may refuse to comply with rules they think are unfair. These types of rules include restrictions on where pets can walk in the neighborhood, types of vehicles allowed in the driveway and the length of time relatives can stay with a resident. If there’s a particular rule that doesn’t seem to work for members, look for ways to change it so they’re more willing to follow it.
Don’t let confusing rules create disorder in your neighborhood. Call us today to discuss how we can help you review and revise your HOA rules so they are easy to understand and follow.