HOA Fines: Six Things You Need To Know About HOA Penalties

23 January 2017
 Categories: Real Estate, Blog


Dealing with an HOA can be a complex and infuriating experience -- but that isn't necessarily the HOA's fault. There are many situations in which an HOA is forced to levy fines in order to upkeep the consistency of the neighborhood. Here are a few things you should know about HOA's penalties.

1. Your Fines and Penalties Must Be Outlined In Your HOA Rules

In order to enact a fine or penalty against your account, the actual issue must be outlined in the documents that you have received. But as a homeowner, you also have the responsibility of looking into these documents and reading them thoroughly.

2. Your HOA Rules Can Be Changed By the Board At Any Time

Your HOA's rules themselves will provide guidelines for how the rules can be changed. In general, a majority vote by the board will usually be enough to enact new rules -- in addition to associated fines and penalties. This is where it becomes very important to attend all of your HOA meetings.

3. Your Home Can Have a Lien Filed Against It

In fact, it probably will. Most HOAs enforce their fees by filing a lien against properties when they are unpaid. If these amounts are not paid, the home cannot be sold. In most situations, this all but guarantees an HOA will get paid for a fine or penalty -- even if it doesn't go to collections immediately.

4. Your HOA Must Notify You Of the Issue

In order for the debt to actually be a debt, you have to be notified that you have been fined. This needs to happen in writing. Otherwise you can ask the HOA to both prove the debt and prove the fact that you've violated the HOA's rules. In general, you want as much documentation as possible.

5. Your HOA Will Usually Allow You To Appeal

Most HOAs are not completely draconian regarding their rules. There's usually a warning process -- though this isn't required -- and there is usually the ability to appeal. But you should keep in mind that all of these things would need to be outlined under the HOA's guidelines.

6. Your HOA Doesn't Have to be "Reasonable"

Many homeowners become frustrated that their HOA's rules don't seem to make sense or don't seem to be important. But the HOA's guidelines are a private contract between homeowner's and the homeowner's association. Consequently, the HOA can essentially set rules as they desire (as long as they are not illegal) because the homeowners have agreed to them. .

For most homeowners, being on the board of the HOA can be very beneficial. Not only will you be apprised of any issues early on, but you'll also be able to exert some control over the direction your HOA is taking. Otherwise you'll simply need to be as aware as possible about what is going on and whether your fines and penalties are legitimate. For more information, contact a company like J & N Realty, Inc.