If you live in a community that’s governed by a homeowner’s association (HOA), it’s important to understand what you are and are not permitted to do. You can find everything you need in your HOA handbook or by contacting the board directly.
Even if you understand your rights, it’s still possible you could violate one or more of the rules set forth by your HOA. While this isn’t typically a big deal, it can turn into a hassle if you don’t take the appropriate action.
Here are some tips for responding to an HOA violation:
- Don’t ignore it: This doesn’t do you any good, as the HOA is sure to follow up soon enough. Address the concern, ask the appropriate questions and take reasonable steps to correct the violation.
- Appeal the penalty: For example, if your HOA fines you for a rules violation, don’t hesitate to review your handbook and determine if you have grounds to file an appeal. Simply paying the fine and moving on isn’t always your best option.
- Communicate: You’ll typically be notified of an HOA violation via snail mail. Upon receipt, read the correspondence to ensure that you know exactly what the problem is. From there, open the lines of communication with the HOA board. For instance, if you received a notice of a landscaping violation, contact the board to ask what is and isn’t acceptable. If there’s some gray area, a simple conversation can go a long way in putting the violation to rest.
- Protect your legal rights: Even though you agreed to abide by the rules set forth by the HOA, it doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want. You have legal rights as a homeowner, and it’s critical that you take steps to protect them.
There are both pros and cons of living in a community that’s governed by an HOA. If you find yourself in a dispute over a rules violation, take the steps above to protect yourself.
Should your HOA continue to fight back, such as threatening to kick you out of your home, learn more about your legal rights so you know exactly how to respond.