Enforcing Rules & Regs

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Guiding Principles for Enforcement Hearings

Since our enforcement hearing presentation at WSCAI’s Made for Managers Day a couple of weeks ago, we have been getting a lot of feedback on the variety of procedures employed for community association enforcement hearings, generally with the question “is

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What to Do When an HOA Board Member is Breaking the Rules

The ultimate goal in a homeowners association is for everyone to be respectful and live together peacefully. However, it’s hard to accomplish both of these goals when you have members breaking the rules – especially if it’s a board member.

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Enforcing Long Unenforced Rules In Your HOA

It may come as little surprise that quite a few homeowner association boards fail miserably in rule enforcement, especially in self managed HOAs. Let’s face it, confrontation with neighbors is not something most people look forward to. So when certain

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Five Tips for Effective Enforcement of HOA Rules

One of the biggest mistakes we see are boards making inconsistent rulings or being very lax with what their CC&Rs say. While it may seem easier to let some things slide, like ignoring people who leave garbage bins in their

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Does a Foreclosure Complaint Prevent a Community Association from Enforcing Rules and Regulations? (NJ)

A New Jersey Chancery Court was called upon to rule whether the filing of a foreclosure complaint by a condominium association prevents the association from taking other actions to enforce its rules and regulations as they would apply to the

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Oceano homeowner shares HOA struggles as a lesson to others (CA)

A local woman is being forced to remove a room she added to her home because she didn’t follow her homeowner’s association guidelines.  Sheila Eckert, a special education tutor, has lived in her Old Avocado Ranch home in Oceano since

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3 Tips for Effective Covenant Compliance

It’s a topic of discussion at every Board meeting – who’s following the rules and who isn’t. People choose to live in community associations because they want to preserve their property values, but if the board and management aren’t enforcing

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Home-based businesses complicate condo rules (NH)

In a past column, I (briefly) mentioned the concerns about having a business operating out of a residential condominium association. I need to expand on this a bit as it is becoming an issue in more associations.  Most older condo

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Above the Law: Why Homeowners Try to Skirt the Rules

You’ve seen it more times than you can count: rebellious homeowners living on the edge (or over the edge) of the HOA rules. While “rebellious” is probably a strong word in most cases, you are faced with a dilemma either

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Appeals court reverses summary judgment against homeowner (FL)

Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a homeowners’ association.  The appeals court ruling follows a July 2016 decision by the 12th Judicial Circuit Court. The circuit court

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Be prepared to answer the question “Why?” if you want to defuse conflict in your community

“Why can’t we use the pool after dusk?” the wiry man at the microphone bellowed. “I’ve been a swimmer my whole life and I need to use the pool to stay in shape” and with that statement, he pointed to

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Residents: Home Values Drop Due to Unenforced CCRs (ID)

Residents of a Twin Falls subdivision are considering legal action against developers, saying the covenants, conditions and restrictions meant to regulate the neighborhood’s housing design and upkeep have not been enforced.  Julie Davis moved to Settlers Ridge Subdivision in northwest

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Selective Enforcement and Violations When Installing Hardwood Floors (FL)

Earlier this year the Third District Court of Appeals narrowed two significant unit owner defenses to enforcement actions, selective enforcement and waiver/ estoppel when it decided Laguna Tropical, a Condominium Association, Inc. v. Barnave, Case No. 3D16–1531 (Fla. 3d DCA

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The Role of the Covenants Enforcement Officers in a Homeowners Association

The staff or volunteers you see occasionally walking around the community with clipboards or tablets are the homeowners association’s covenants enforcement officers. They’re inspecting the property to ensure that everything is working properly, that conditions are safe, and that nothing

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Selective Enforcement: Common Sense Prevails

As often happens when a community association enforces its covenants and rules and regulations against an owner, the owner responds to the association saying, “The house down the street is in violation with the rules and regulations, too! Why aren’t

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HOA Homefront – Can the association enforce unwritten rules?

Q:  This past year we got a new homeowners association manager, and there has been a huge increase in the number of violation letters. Some are for items like patio chairs on walkways, water hoses not coiled in specific areas,

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Dealing with Difficult Residents

At some point, every community will face conflict and difficult people. When this occurs, remember that patience and communication always prevail. By managing your reactions, listening and asking the right questions, your community and board will come to a resolution.

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The Unenforceable: When a Rule is Not a Rule

One Monday morning, I arrived at the office of one of our managed properties, and I was greeted by a visibly upset board president. Steeling myself for what was the source of her dissatisfaction, I asked “what is the matter?”

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Condo Association Hearing Tips for Owners

The dreaded hearing. For whatever reason – maybe legitimate, maybe not – your Board has issued a hearing with your name on it. They want to meet with you over your behavior and they’ve got the power of the Bylaws

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How to deal with a weak homeowners association

Reader Question: Our homeowner’s association has bylaws. The HOA is not proactive in enforcing them and has allowed residents to violate, only addressing the violations if someone files a complaint. This refusal to proactively monitor property conditions puts the complaining

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Dear Monty: 3 options for homeowners in a weak homeowners association

More Content Now Reader Question: Our homeowner’s association (HOA) has bylaws. The HOA is not proactive in enforcing them and has allowed residents to violate, only addressing the violations if someone files a complaint. This refusal to proactively monitoring property

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Court Narrows Defenses in Covenant Enforcement Action (FL)

When faced with an enforcement action by a community association, owners often argue the association is selectively enforcing the covenants. Some also argue the association waived its right to enforce because the association knew about the violation for a substantial

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How to Judge Condo Association Hearings

You’ve prepared for your hearing and held your hearing – now it’s time for you to decide the outcome. This is the judgment and penalty phase of the hearing process. Unlike the other phases, in this phase, you’re dealing with

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Unapproved HOA paint color leads to 2 year fight, thousands of dollars spent (AZ)

Do you think your HOA is picking on you? Well, you’re not alone.  Paulla thinks so too. The Phoenix woman’s home is under Kingswood HOA and her battle began two years ago stemming from a paint issue.  Her HOA approved

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Enforcement Without the Force

As an HOA manager, you walk a fine line. You need to enforce the rules, but you don’t want to alienate everyone. You need to stay professional, but your role demands friendliness. While it’s your job to point out when

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What Happens When You Don’t Follow HOA Rules?

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we learned what it means to live in a common interest community, generally, and what documents are used to establish the community – looking specifically at homeowners association controlled communities (“HOAs”).

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What Restrictions Exist in a HOA?

In part one of the series, we answered what it means to live in a neighborhood association. Basically, it means that you live in a distinct area and that area, along with each of the property owners within it, are

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How to Hold a Condo Association Hearing

Once you’ve prepared for a Condo Association hearing, you’ll have done all of the necessary legwork to minimize conflict and maximize the outcome. While preparation makes things easier, you will still need to go through with the hearing itself. These

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Condo resident sues Palm Beach over code enforcement fines (FL)

A Palm Beach resident has filed suit against the town alleging that code enforcement and police officers violated his privacy rights when they entered his condo without permission and fined him nearly $25,000.  The suit was filed Jan. 13 by

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You’re Not the Boss of Me!

Laws, community association governing documents and policies are designed to help boards of directors identify their roles and responsibilities. They provide a framework of expectation for community members. And they can be immensely useful in dealing with inappropriate and ill-advised

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Does a condo board have to enforce every single rule and regulation?

Q: I live in a condominium complex where there is no enforcement of the house rules. I have noisy neighbors, neighbors with three cars (for their two-person, one-bedroom condo), neighbors who erect anything and everything on the common elements. The

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Dealing With Difficult People in Your HOA

Dealing with difficult people in any setting can be a real challenge. But in volunteer-based homeowner associations, where there is none of the leverage managers have with employees, there is an entirely new level of difficulty. And, believe it or

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How to Prepare for a Condo Association Hearing

Hearings are a necessary evil for any large Association. Condo Associations create rules – sometimes lots of them. Generally, a cease and desist deters most Owners from breaking the rules. Every now and then, however, you need to hold a

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How to Handle Condo Association Rules Being Ignored

A common question Owners ask is what to do if a Condo Association rule is being ignored and going unenforced. Understandably, this can cause significant consternation among Owners. Rules are meant to be followed, and if an Association isn’t following

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Owner Function: Comply with Documents

As an owner within an association you should read, understand and comply with your governing documents. If you do not understand the documents, ask your neighbors, your board, or your personal attorney. Failure to understand your association’s governing documents (Bylaws,

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If you are on a condo board enforcing rules in a reasonable fashion is part of your responsibility

The acid test for the board of directors success is do the owners (they elect the board) love living in their association?. Does the owners approval rating of your boards compare to our current approval rating of congress? If so

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Live in an HOA? Hosting Thanksgiving? Remember these things…

First off, you’re welcome for this little list of helpful reminders about hosting Thanksgiving at your home that’s in an HOA. We know you are busy brining, basting, baking, mashing, mixing, cleaning, and whatever else it is you have to

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HOA disciplinary hearings: not a public court process (CA)

Ifeveryone followed the Golden Rule (“do unto others…”), homeowners association disciplinary hearings would be rare. Unfortunately, hearings are a necessary, regular, and unpleasant board responsibility. These hearings are governed by Civil Code 5850 and 5855, which establish a simple system.

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The Shakespeare Case and What it Means to Utah HOA’s

On June 22, 2016 the Utah Supreme Court published the Fort Pierce Industrial Park Phases II, III & IV Owners Association v. Shakespeare case, 2016 UT 28. This case established a bright line rule that the Court rejected strict construction

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Condo Association Rules Enforcement

Condo Association rules are always a thorny issue. On the one hand, people want to live without feeling like they have to walk on eggshells. On the other, there are often enough jerks out there who do obnoxious things that

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How Well Did You Communicate The HOA Rule?

Every HOA has rules. Every HOA Board has to create rules, and get compliance from community members.  Seems easy, right? Usually never.  Why? Because communication falls through or falls flat.  Hopefully, when HOA rules are written they are not overly

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When Residents Are Disruptive: Tips for Keeping the Peace

Despite living in association, sometimes disputes erupt. Some residents just can’t be reasoned with. They’ll bother the board or other residents in various ways: noise at all hours, smells, maybe even just being a pest. No matter what it is,

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New FHA Harassment Rule & Policy Recommendation

On October 14, 2016, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) new rule on quid pro quo and hostile environment housing practices under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) goes into effect. This new rule creates liability for housing

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Neutrality

Association boards deal with a variety of unit owner behaviors and personalities. Some are positive, some are negative, and some are downright inexplicable. This can lead to both real and perceived bias.  Regardless of the behavior or how much the

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Are You Observing Constitutional Rights in Disciplinary Hearings?

Boards of directors of community associations (and, unfortunately, even the attorneys advising them) will sometimes mistakenly believe that co-owners are not entitled to certain Constitutional rights of due process with respect to disciplinary hearings. They might warn a co-owner not

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Homeowners Association/Reasonableness Of Fees/Section 1717: $25,614 Post-Judgment Enforcement Fee Award To HOA Affirmed On Appeal

The attorney for the prevailing homeowners association (HOA) did something very smart in Bryan Ranch Homeowners Assn. v. Lawrence, Case No. A147659 (1st Dist., Div. 1 Sept. 16, 2016) (unpublished), which we will now describe.  There, a homeowner and HOA

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The Truth about HOAs: Don’t Blame Governing Documents, Blame Inconsistent Enforcement

MYTH: ENFORCING YOUR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION’S GOVERNING DOCUMENTS LEADS TO UNHAPPY HOMEOWNERS.  Most people believe that enforcing the Rules and Regulations and other restrictions in the Declaration leads to unhappy homeowners. It feels right, because no one likes to get a

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Can an Association Suspend an Owner’s Right to Use Common Facilities? (FL)

Association boards frequently ask what recourse they have against owners who fall behind on paying assessments, or violate other provisions of an association’s governing documents. While most associations’ governing documents provide for the right to fine owners and place a

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Is Selective Enforcement of Restrictions Acceptable?

Q: Some of my neighbors and I recently received notices for violations of our community’s restrictive covenants (CCRs) based on the condition of our lawns. However, the homeowner across the street from me has four or five commercial vehicles parked

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The ‘PS’ of Community Living: Rules Enforcement

Question: We live in a nice community, but every so often someone breaks one of our rules. Sometimes the infraction is minor — such as washing their car on the public street. Other times, the violation is more serious, such

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