As an HOA board member, you may be faced with difficult challenges that come with maintaining an HOA community. It is in the boards best interest to serve their community and ensure that all governing documents are enforced according to their communities guidelines. In times when community members fail to live up to the standards required by the association, the HOA board of directors may be forced to execute an HOA violation letter.
Expecting your HOA community to be the perfect utopia would be far from normal; to come across a bad apple from time-to-time is quite common. Among the many expectations that come with being an HOA board member, your obligation to keep harmonious relations among community members should be top of the list. It is essential to provide your community with an equal and fair process of what constitutes an HOA violation — this includes a formal written procedure in regard to HOA violation letters. In the words of Warren Buffet,“Trust is like the air we breathe. When it’s present, nobody really notices. But when it’s absent, everybody notices.” When rules are consistently enforced, homeowners are more likely to abide by those rules.
To better help you and your community succeed, here are 5 key sources of information that you may find helpful when writing an HOA violation letter.
The primary purpose of an HOA notice of violation is to educate and enforce the association's rules and guidelines as outlined in their Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R). This includes consequences such as monetary fines that are noncompliant with your homeowners association. “Fines are one of the tools in the process; they are certainly not the end goal.” For example, an HOA member may be given a notice of violation due to numerous noise complaints from neighbors. Typically, an HOA violation letter will include information regarding the offense, a declaration stating the HOAs laws or rules that were violated, a compliance date, suggestions on how to solve the problem, a fine amount, and a contact person for any additional questions or concerns. Keep in mind that every state is different; what constitutes an HOA violation in one state may be different in another.
It may seem crazy to think receiving an HOA violation notice serves a valuable purpose. An HOA violation letter is provided to the owner so that formal written documentation is provided for both parties; this includes a proper timeline to resolve the issue. The responsibility of the letter is to address the issue amicably, not necessarily attack the owner. In addition to this, providing a formal violation letter also exemplifies fair treatment among all community members. Unfortunately, not all faults are as simple as giving a slap on the wrist. Each violation should be taken into careful consideration regardless of the person's status or relation that they may have to the HOA. It is with fair treatment and consistency that can help pave the road to a successful community.
Let’s start by discussing the process of receiving an HOA violation letter. Depending on the guidelines given by your HOA, most associations will aspire to find an easy solution among both parties. In this situation, an HOA will provide the homeowner with a warning violation notice that is mailed to the owner’s property. Here is where the owner is given a date to cure; this represents the amount of time provided to the owner to help rectify the issue. Keep in mind that the overall purpose of the warning is to help avoid the homeowner being given a fine. In contrast, if the violation has not been resolved after the date to cure has passed, the HOA may have the right to proceed with sending a formal violation letter that will discuss further steps and fines.
It’s one thing to receive a violation letter, but another when you’re the person sending it. We’re only human — having mixed emotions about sending your favorite neighbor a violation letter isn’t exactly easy. As a board member, you may find yourself having to divide friendships from business. In these situations, always be professional and remember that you’re only doing your job. Business is business — personal matters should stay at home.
On the contrary, being the person on the receiving end can definitely spark some flames. No one cares to open their mailbox to a violation letter. If you find yourself on the receiving end, it will be natural to feel a sense of resentment or sensitivity to the situation. You may find yourself questioning, “are they serious?” Before breaking war with your HOA, consider these pointers before responding back.
TownSq has provided a free HOA violation letter for you to download, click here to get your free template. As an added resource, you may also be able to find free HOA violation letter templates from online websites such as wordexceltemplates.com. and Gogladly.com.