HOA Boards should enforce the association’s rules unless there’s a really good reason not to do so. It’s about being fair to all homeowners and to keep your community at its best. Driving a car is safer and easier because most drivers follow the rules of the road and know what is expected of them. Accidents occur when someone deviates from the rules. It’s the same in an HOA. Rules establish expectations for residents and protect the property values. Just like the highway patrol, it’s important to know when to bend and when to push.
Flexibility and respect go hand-in-hand with enforcing HOA rules. While consistency is vital, flexibility is also important. Extenuating circumstances can cause a one-time violation, and you can respectfully communicate the infraction to the owner without the matter spiraling out of control. Being flexible doesn’t mean that you are failing to do your job as a Board member. It means that you’re doing your job better because you work toward community-wide compliance instead of focusing on just punishment.
Here are five tips on working with residents to get buy-in and achieve compliance for your HOA rules.
1. Education is key to enforcing rules. Communicate rules and effective dates to all residents. Ongoing communication works best because it’s easy for people to forget a rule, so take advantage of opportunities to educate and talk about your HOA rules.
2. Make sure that your HOA rules follow local, state and federal regulations. Changes are the norm, so it’s critical to review your HOA rules on a regular basis and amend them as needed.
3. Ensure that rules and consequences fit your community and the situation. Consistent enforcement is important, but allow reasonable exceptions and give residents sufficient time to comply.
4. Build community support and consensus for rules. This requires an investment of time and diligence for the Board, but listening to feedback from the owners is paramount to getting buy-in.
5. Avoid acting on anonymous or unverified complaints. All community residents will appreciate that your Board members verify complaints before taking action.
Wise Property Solutions is a property management company serving East Tennessee (including: KINGSPORT, TN | JOHNSON CITY, TN | BRISTOL, TN | ELIZABETHTON, TN | ERWIN, TN | BRISTOL, VA | KNOXVILLE, TN) with offices in Knoxville, TN and the Tri-Cities, TN. Specializing in Condominium Association Management, Home Owners Association Management, HOA Management and Gated Community Association Management. The firm is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®).
Knoxville, TN: 865-643-8989
Tri-Cities, TN: 423-926-7373