The 5 Most Common HOA Violations and How to Report Them

The 5 Most Common HOA Violations and How to Report Them

Why did you purchase your home in your neighborhood? Perhaps you felt safe, loved the landscaping, or just enjoyed the overall peaceful atmosphere.

Often, these perks result from the homeowners’ association’s (HOA’s) rules and regulations. When all residents are on the same page about what is and isn’t allowed, everyone can do their part to keep the community beautiful, functional, and well-rounded. On the contrary, when community members don’t follow these rules, HOA violations may be issued to ensure the safety and quality of living within the HOA. Read on to learn about HOA violations, common HOA violations, how to report HOA violations, and more.

What is an HOA violation?

Your HOA takes pride in maintaining a nice appearance and strong reputation. To uphold this, an HOA must have and enforce the guidelines, rules, and regulations outlined in its governing documents. When an HOA member breaks one of these rules, an HOA violation may occur.

Why do HOA rules exist?

Upon purchasing a property in an HOA, all homeowners agree to abide by the rules in the governing documents. These guidelines are required for harmony and order. When everyone is aligned on what they can and can’t do, held to the same standards, and respects the rules, it provides a positive experience for your HOA and fewer incidents of violation.

Top 5 HOA Violations

Every community has a unique set of governing documents that define its structure, roles, permissions, and day-to-day operations. Because of this, every HOA will also have unique rules and violations; however, these are the most common:

Landscaping violations

Landscaping can be a large HOA investment, but keeping green spaces thriving and attractive is vital to continued growth. That’s why HOAs typically have specific landscaping guidelines. It varies by community, but examples of landscaping rules that exist and, if broken, can cause violations include:  

  • A homeowner may only use drip irrigation along their curb and sidewalks.
  • A homeowner's tree may not extend further than five feet onto their neighbor's property.
  • A homeowner may only have certain types of plants.

Animal violations

66% of U.S. households own a pet, and, unfortunately, furry friends can open more opportunities for violations. While you may love your pet, your neighbors might not appreciate your dog howling until the late hours of the night. To promote a harmonious coexistence and avoid tense pet-related situations, your HOA may have pet restrictions, including:

  • Number of pets allowed per household.
  • Approved and non-approved breeds.
  • Weight limitations.
  • Pet waste expectations.

Noise violations

HOAs cannot control every noise that can be heard in the neighborhood. However, they can implement guidelines to minimize disruption. You may find the following in your governing documents:

  • Rules about excessive barking.
  • Time limitations for loud music.
  • Outdoor party restrictions.

Noise violations are issued to keep the community at peace and maintain courtesy among neighbors. Additionally, your city or county may have their own noise ordinances you must comply with.

Trash violations

Many HOAs have stringent rules regarding the placement of trash and recycle bins, as having trash accessible and outside during non-pickup hours can lead to a negative experience for other homeowners. A few examples of HOA trash violations include:

  • Receptacle bins placed outside during non-pickup hours.
  • Trash placed in visible areas.
  • Receptacle bins in front of other homes.

Vehicles and parking violations

Having vehicle and parking regulations preserves the safety and aesthetic of the community. Some HOAs may have rules about:

  • Types of cars permitted.
  • Guest parking.
  • Speeding.
  • Vehicle-related signage

How to report an HOA violation

Follow these best practices for reporting and resolving HOA violations:

1. Read your governing documents

Before reporting the violation, thoroughly review your governing documents to guarantee the person in violation is actually breaking an HOA rule. Also, review how to report or submit a violation. Many communities have a process for violations, and third-party approved vendors or management company employees may conduct routine property inspections to ensure compliance.  

2. Have a conversation

Sometimes, a simple, cordial conversation or reminder can quickly solve an issue or the need to submit a violation request. If a conversation feels appropriate, approach your neighbor kindly and put yourself in their shoes; perhaps the person is new to the community and isn’t fully aware of the community's guidelines. Remember that there are always two sides to a story.

3. Get the facts

Do you have actual evidence or proof that the violation occurred? Often, members may find themselves in a battle of “he said, she said” because each party lacks evidence of the violation. If possible, obtain proof of the violation in writing or with images or video.

4. Submit your violation

When submitting a violation, be detailed so your board or manager can easily read and understand your reason for the violation. Some questions may include:

  • Who is responsible for the violation?
  • What’s the HOA violation (according to your governing documents)?
  • When did the violation occur (times and dates)?
  • What’s the property address (or location) of the violation?

Confirm you’re correctly following your HOA’s process. Common violation submission methods include:

  • Hard copy form: an HOA may provide members with paper forms to fill out violation requests.
  • Community website: an HOA may instruct members to visit their community website for information about community violations and a link to submit requests online through their community portal. For example, TownSq offers a request form feature that allows members to submit customized requests directly to their manager or HOA board.

5. Be patient

After submitting your violation request, be available if your board reaches out to you to discuss the matter. Also, allow your board time to review your request and properly evaluate and resolve the complaint. The board’s last move is to follow the community’s protocols, submitting a warning or formal letter to the violator in question.  

Streamline your HOA violation process with TownSq

Dealing with HOA violations is challenging. But did you know you can simplify things with the TownSq platform?

TownSq is an app designed to make tracking and enforcing HOA rules easier. From noting rule violations to sending letters quickly, TownSq is the top choice for HOA managers and boards. Explore TownSq and more of our features by requesting a free, 30-day trial here.