A homeowner’s association (HOA) can have some wonderful benefits. Typically, the home values are higher in communities with an HOA board, and they will often have excellent amenities. Of course, these benefits do come at a cost to the HOA member. When you’re part of an HOA, you need to follow certain rules and regulations that are put forth. Below, you’ll learn more about HOAs, violations, and what you can do about them.
What is a Homeowners Association HOA?
An HOA is an organization in a community or building that sets and enforces certain rules that are believed to be for the benefit of everyone who lives there. When you purchase a property that is in the jurisdiction of an HOA, you are required to abide by those rules and pay an HOA fee. While HOAs can differ from one property to another, they all have rules that need to be followed.
What is an HOA Violation?
Each homeowners’ association will have its governing documents that include the rules and regulations that were created by and voted on by the community. When you break one of the regulations of the HOA, you will likely receive a notice about the violation. This notice will be sent by the HOA board and will include details about the issue. It will also include what you need to do to correct the problem, any fees or fines that you may need to pay, along with the deadline to fix the issue.
While the HOA rules might seem strict in some communities, homeowners have to remember that they knew about the regulations before buying the property—or at least they should. When purchasing a property with an HOA, it’s important to understand the rules they have in place, so you can better determine if it’s the right property for you or not.
Common HOA Violations
Rules vary from one homeowners association to the next, and an HOA violation may be handled differently from one to the next. Many common types of violation tend to be part of most communities:
- Landscaping – If you have overgrown landscaping or landscaping that doesn’t fit within the rules of the HOA.
- Parking – If you park in the wrong spot, or if you’re parking in an off-limits area.
- Trash – If you aren’t putting your trash containers in the right area for pickup, or if you have trash outside of your home.
- Decorations – Certain decorations may be off-limits, such as holiday decorations up past a certain date.
- Pets – There may be limits on the types of pets or the weight of the pet. A pet violation may also include excessive barking.
- Architectural – Making unapproved architectural changes, such as putting in a pool, could be a large violation.
- Illegal rentals – Putting your place up for rent in a community where rentals aren’t allowed.
- Noise Complaints – Being too loud or being noisy after a certain time of night.
Why Did I Get an HOA violation?
If you break one of the homeowners association rules, the HOA is supposed to send you a notification of the issue and give you time to take care of it. In some cases, this might include an initial fine. Other times, you will receive a warning and have time to rectify the problem before getting another letter and a fine.
You could get a violation for any of the above types of infractions, or it could be another rule that you broke. The HOA must act fairly when enforcing the rules. If other people are breaking the same rules, they need to be held accountable for their actions, as well.
What to Do When You Get an HOA Violation Notice?
If you receive HOA violation notices, you will want to read the HOA violation letter and make sure that you understand what you did wrong. You’ll also need to correct the HOA violation as soon as possible, and then reach out to the HOA and let them know that the problem was fixed.
You can submit proof that you’ve corrected the violation with photos and sent them via email or certified mail. Your HOA board may have specific rules on how they want to be contacted. It’s also important that you request in writing from the HOA that the violation has been closed and that no further action is needed. This will give you peace of mind knowing that the problem has been taken care of properly. For more details on this topic read our article on What to do when you recieve a HOA violation letter.
Can You Appeal an HOA Violation?
What happens if you don’t feel that you were violating the rules of the property? If you believe that you haven’t done anything wrong, you can request to speak with the HOA board members at the next hearing in regards to violation notices. These are usually held monthly, but you’ll want to check when your board holds meetings.
At the violation hearing, you can present your case to the board and get a ruling. In some cases, the violation notice may have been sent out by mistake and it will be easy to clear up. Other times, they will continue to enforce the rules. It may also be a good idea to check the bylaws of the community, as well as your state laws to see what your rights are. An experience Las Vegas property management company can handle all these matters for you as a property owner.
Tips to Avoid HOA Violations
Violating the HOA rules and regulations can be quite a hassle and one that you’ll want to avoid whenever possible. The best thing to do is make sure that you read, learn, and follow the HOA documents and ask questions if you have them. It’s better to get clarification on certain rules before you break a rule inadvertently. While you could ask your neighbors for clarification, it’s often better to ask the HOA board since it is the arbiter of the rules.
Keep in mind that there may be changes to the rules and regulations that you aren’t aware of if you aren’t attending the HOA meetings and events. Going to these functions is not just a good way to meet your neighbors. It ensures that you’re staying on top of the changes. Often, changes are put to a vote, and you’ll want to be sure that your vote is counted.