All homeowners’ associations or HOAs will consider adopting rules and regulations by which residents must abide while living in the community. These policies should be developed for the common good of the community. Because of the interpersonal (neighbor to neighbor) dynamic, developing and enforcing rules and regulations are more challenging compared to residential property management (lease or rental). Recognizing the complexity of governing fellow homeowners, it’s important to ask yourself these questions: Is your association imposing rules it has authority to adopt? Is the rule being considered reasonable? How do you plan to enforce the rule?
Here are some tips to appropriately enact rules and successfully achieve compliance in your community.
The Fundamentals of Enacting and Enforcing HOA Rules
- When adopting policies an HOA should act within their authority (spelled out in the association’s governing documents) and any applicable federal, state, or local law
- The homeowners’ association should create rules only when necessary and serve a specific purpose.
- All rules should be written down in a clear and easy to understand language.
- The association’s rules and regulations should be easily accessible for owners and residents. The advancement of technology has enabled HOAs to make policies available 24/7.
- The rules should promote the common good within the community while protecting residents from potentially disruptive and harmful behaviors
- Always question whether the board is adopting fair and reasonable policies
- Consider how the policies can be effectively enforced and be clear how you will provide owners with due process if they are cited for violating a policy.
How to Enforce Rules in the Residential Community
While homeowners are responsible for following the rules, associations will need to periodically remind residents to review the current rules and regulations. If a resident fails to abide by these guidelines, gentle enforcement may be necessary. Consider these guidelines when enforcing HOA policies.
• Before an enforcement action, double check that your HOA has informed residents of any regulation changes
• Rules should be enforced consistently among all residents (even among board members and their friends)
• Seek in your enforcement efforts to make clear that the goal is not to punish. The rules are simply enacted to promote a better quality of life.
The rules of your homeowners’ association should exist to benefit all homeowners and residents in your community. The overall tone of the policies and their enforcement should be one of cooperation to minimize unnecessary conflicts between neighbors. Serving residents in Tennessee, Wise Property Solutions is a great resource for board members who would like help from experts when creating a peaceful residential community.