While homeowners association are established to benefit both the homeowners and the community, there are things that HOAs do that homeowners don’t agree with and vise-versa. When an HOA determines that a homeowner’s actions have violated certain stipulations in their CC&Rs, bylaws or other rules and regulations, the HOA immediately calls the attention of the homeowner. Often, there is a corresponding fine or penalty. But what about the homeowners? What can they do if they have an issue with their HOA?
First, here are some of the issues homeowners commonly complain about their HOA:
1. Increasing membership fees/dues
The HOA subsists on membership dues and other fees they may collect from the homeowners from time to time. As such, they may choose to increase HOA dues at any given time, as long as it is implemented in accordance with the HOA’s bylaws. There are times, however, when an HOA increases membership dues or charges additional fees to cover repairs (which they can actually do) without warning.
If these are within the HOA’s bylaws and deeds, there’s not much a homeowner can do except comply. However, if the majority of the homeowners agree that these are additional financial burdens they cannot shoulder, they can collectively appeal to the HOA.
2. Selective Enforcement
After fees, selective enforcement is the second most common issue homeowners have with their HOA. In a nutshell, selective enforcement means the HOA isn’t fair in its enforcement of the terms covered in the CC&Rs or bylaws and deeds. To put it another way, the HOA is playing favorites; choosing who should strictly follow the regulations and for whom they can bend the rules.
A homeowner may call the attention of the HOA board to this observation in writing first, and then a scheduled discussion after. The homeowner must have solid proof to back their claim/s, so the HOA board can take the necessary action.
3. Harassing with fines
Sometimes, HOAs charge a fine for something as unreasonable as the car parked too closely to the curb or a trampoline with an unsightly color. If the homeowner refuses to pay, they can expect to be bombarded with reminders in the mail and messages in their machine. If your HOA is harassing you to pay a fine for what you believe is an unreasonable demand, check the bylaws to see if it is within the HOA’s legal rights.
But whether or not the demand is unreasonable, the HOA should never harass the homeowner for payment. You may seek the advice of a lawyer if the harassment continues after you’ve called their attention to it.