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Common HOA Rules Homeowners Accidentally Break

We know that rule enforcement is generally a touchy subject for HOA members. It’s the same for the HOA management company. No one feels great about issuing violation notices to homeowners. However, there is an important reason these rules exist at all: to protect and preserve property values by making sure that the community is an attractive, inviting place to live.

Your community association management company’s primary goal is to help make sure your HOA shines. That said, we know the sinking feeling you might get upon arriving at your house and seeing that white envelope taped to your door. So, today we’re going to share some of the most common HOA rules we see homeowners inadvertently break, in the hopes that you’ll understand a little bit more about why these rules are in place and how to protect yourself against accidental violation.

Architectural Violations

It’s natural to want to spruce up your home with a new paint job, fence gate, exterior décor. Your HOA wants you to live in a place you love to call home. That’s why your HOA has taken the time to outline comprehensive architectural guidelines that address every aspect of exterior home improvement.

Your homeowners association has established a very clear set of guidelines to help you upgrade your home that works harmoniously with the existing aesthetic of your community. Most HOAs offer a wide variety of choice within a set of approved architectural rules, so you have lots of options to improve your home.

How to avoid accidental violation: Review your community’s architectural guidelines before finalizing your plan with your contractor (or painter, etc.) Ask questions of your community manager before submitting your architectural application to make sure your proposed changes align with your community’s architectural guidelines.

Common Area Violations

Attractive, useful common areas are one of the best features of HOA living. However, this issues regarding common areas are where we see many avoidable disputes. Your community has a set of guidelines that clearly articulates how to take advantage of your community amenities for personal/private use, as well making sure you’re also good neighbor.

Pay attention to these rules. They are in place to protect the association from liability, limit potential damage to common area and ensure that neighboring properties are not disturbed during off-hours.

Private group events are subject to local municipal laws regarding crowd size and noise limits. Large parties without a permit risk HOA violations as well as shut-down by law enforcement. Sizeable gatherings may require an added insurance rider beyond the scope of the association’s general liability policy. All of these measures are in place to protect the association and the rights of the membership.

How to avoid accidental violation: Familiarize yourself with your amenities’ rules and hours – and abide by them. Discuss any plans for a party or private event with your community manager long before your event is scheduled to take place. Your manager will help you submit the correct form (if required) and make sure you have all appropriate coverages in place.

Parking Violations

Parking citations are one of the most common HOA violations ­– and one of the easiest to avoid. Every parking rule is backed by careful reasoning. Ensuring access by first responders in case of emergency, enabling weekly street sweepers to keep your community clean, or prioritizing resident parking over guests are some of the most common reasons parking rules exist in your community.

Read More: Tips for Responding to HOA Code Violations.

Most associations have control measures in place to ensure that all residents gain equal parking access, especially in associations with limited space. Approved parking permits, a “safe” list of resident cars, or assigned parking spots are methods for fair distribution of parking access.

For associations with plenty of space, parking rules are often about making sure the community looks neat and orderly. For these reasons, you may be asked to store your car in your garage, avoid long-term street parking or move your boat or RV off-premises.

How to avoid accidental violation: Check your community website for parking information or ask your community manager. Abide by all street signs and notices. If your community features regular street sweeping, set a weekly reminder the night before to move your car off the curb. 

Rules & regulations are not set in stone

As communities change and evolve over time, so do their rules and regulations. If there is a rule in your community that no longer applies to how your community members want to live, you have the ability to propose a change. While it might take some time, a process exists to update your governing documents and set fresh standards for how your community should look and function.

We know that most people want to follow the rules and regulations set forth by their communities. We also understand that in the day-to-day rush, HOA rules and regulations can get lost in the shuffle. However, it’s important to remember that the rules exist to help keep your property values high. Receiving a violation is not the end of the world. It’s simply a reminder to pay a bit more attention to your role in making sure your community a wonderful place to live.

Want to know more about  the process for updating your community’s rules & regulations? Our HOA management experts can help.

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