HOA violations and fines must follow state law

I thought it would be worthwhile to have an article on homeowners associations’ violations and fines so that our boards’ enforcement process and procedures follow state laws.

■ Make sure that your violation notice is sent to the property address and the mailing address as they could be different from each other in order to avoid having your violation notice be deemed insufficient.

■ “Sharpen” your photographs. They truly need to be clear and detailed enough so that any person viewing the photographs can see and understand the violation.

■ You are required to substantiate the violation by providing the applicable section of the governing document.

■ The law also requires that you provide a proposed remedy to cure the alleged violation. In addition, you must provide a reasonable amount of time for the homeowner to respond and to comply before any fines can be assessed.

■ We often forget that a schedule of fines are required in order to impose them, which needs to be mailed to each homeowner. The fine schedule also should be included in the resale package and with the annual budget mailer.

■ Often boards make changes to the rules and regulations or architectural guidelines, for example. These changes must be mailed, hand-delivered or delivered by email (or to any other reasonable method) to the homeowners within 30 days after the changes have been adopted in order to be enforceable.

■ We all need to get on the same page of what constitutes a health, safety and/or welfare violation. The law is explicit and uses such words as “imminent threat of causing a substantial adverse effect on the health, safety or welfare” of the unit owners or residents of the community.”

■ The board may want to meet with their legal counsel to create a fine schedule as the fine must be commensurate with the severity of the violation.

■ Take the time to speak with your legal counsel as to what constitutes a health, safety or welfare violation involving such topics as dogs, speeding, homeowner confrontations, specific kinds of maintenance issues (such as oil spills), rubbish, drugs, just to name a few.

Look for my next article on the enforcement process of hearings and fines.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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