One common complaint in homeowner associations is inconsistent or inequitable application of rules and penalties for infractions. Many HOA Boards reinvent the wheel every time a resident breaks a rule and that wheel changes dimensions depending on who was guilty of violation. In other words, different folks get different penalties.
This kind of rule enforcement is bound to cause a rift in the community. To avoid this, the Board should adopt a Schedule of Fines which clearly lays out the rules and penalties. The penalties could be monetary, restriction to amenities or both. With a Schedule of Fines, all owners are put on notice as to the consequences and, just as importantly, the Board is held to a consistent standard.
While not all HOAs have fines for rule infractions, virtually all have (or should have) penalties for failure to pay fees and assessments as agreed. Here's what it could look like:
Nottacare Condominium - Policy Resolution #___ - Schedule of Fines
WHEREAS Section ___ of the Bylaws grant the Board of Directors with the power to conduct Association business and, to protect community harmony by providing guidelines and a procedure for address conditions that disrupt that harmony,
LET IT BE RESOLVED THAT the following Schedule of Fines will be followed:
1. The Board of Directors is authorized to enforce timely assessment payments from owners, compliance with Rules and Regulations and other policies enacted in accordance with the governing documents by assessing monetary penalties against owners, their guests, family and renters who are violation.
2. Fines for specific offenses are:
Schedule of Fines Architectural $___ per day $___ per occurrence Attorney Fees Collection Policy Collection Policy Excessive Noise $___ per day $___ per occurrence Interest Charge Collection Policy Collection Policy Late Payments Collection Policy Collection Policy NSF Checks Collection Policy Collection Policy Parking $___ per day $___ per occurrence Pet $___ per day $___ per occurrence Rental Restrictions $___ per day $___ per occurrence
3. All unpaid fines are subject to the Collection Policy.
4. Appeal Process Any Owner receiving a fine who believes no violation occurred, may submit a written explanation to the Board of Directors. The owner will be given an opportunity for a hearing and no enforcement fee will be imposed until after the hearing.
Recorded in the Book of Minutes: _______, 200___
President - Board of Directors
Rules and collections consistently enforced will lead to a more harmonious community. Make the penalty fit the crime and apply it consistently. A Schedule of Fines, as Martha Stewart would say, is “a good thing”. It will take a lot of pressure off the Board to “fine on the fly” or overreact to an owner that’s being a pain in the rear.
For more information on this subject, see www.Regenesis.net .