HOA violations: It’s the number one reason why some homeowners have an unspoken (or rather loudly spoken) disdain for homeowners associations. And the people who feel the brunt end of violations woes are the employees of community association management companies who face the highest level of stress and burnout in recent years: the property and community managers, of course.
As Spring and Summer approach, violations are bound to increase within communities. Why is this? Because the most common HOA violations relate to core Spring/Summer activities:
- Landscaping: As homeowners begin planting new trees, plants and shrubbery, they may fail to recognize if there are certain types allowed within the community.
- Noise: Outdoor events such as the 4th of July commonly provoke increased noise complaints from neighbors, which can escalate into a violations notice.
- Exterior Storage: Kayaking, bike riding, and other outdoor activities are common weekend excursions, but oftentimes homeowners forget to properly store their outdoor gear out of view.
- Design Changes: Some HOAs have strict rules about paint colors and exterior décor, and Spring/Summer is a time when many homeowners begin their outdoor projects.
How can you prevent increased violations this season, and what can you do to alleviate the situation when you do have to issue a violation? Here’s a rundown of ways you can keep community living positive without the influx of violation letters:
If you haven’t yet, ensure your HOA boards are sending out reminders of regulations that lead to violations and common violations they see in the Spring/Summer season. This communication can be part of their regular newsletters and sent through their web portal and app. A proactive approach will ensure that your homeowners are aware of the rules before they plan large outdoor parties or get started with their outdoor projects. Communication should be simple, straightforward and friendly. There’s no reason to lead off the messaging with the monetary costs associated with violations – just a simple reminder will do!
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Schedule periodic broadcasts
Use your mass communication tools to send periodic communication to homeowners reminding them of the HOA rules, offering tips to adhere to the regulations and mentioning any violations that commonly increase over a specific period of time. For instance, a broadcast message offering parking suggestions for house guests prior to the July 4th weekend can be extremely helpful to the community while also enforcing noise and parking rules.
Keep homeowners engaged and enthusiastic
Focus on homeowner engagement over HOA rules through contests that bring the community together. For instance, you can use your HOAst platform to send a poll on who in the neighborhood has the best lawn, or to vote on the best barbecue at a summer community event. If your homeowners are seeing more communication pertaining to fun activities that drive community and less communication pertaining to rules, they’ll be more reminiscent of the positive experiences they’ve had within their association.
Use mobile tools for violations management
Finally, in the event that you do have to submit a violation, keep communication as transparent and quick as possible through tools offered via apps such as CINC Manager. Submitting a violation should take under one minute, and it should provide you the ability to do the following:
- Communicate the violation with the tap of a thumb, offering communication to the homeowner via email and their mobile app.
- Timestamp photos as they are uploaded and attached to the violation. The timestamp is crucial as it alleviates any situation in which the homeowner can claim that they were not violating HOA rules.
- Change the levels of violations through the phone and escalate where needed.
- Regenerate past violations when they have not been addressed.
By proactively communicating, focusing efforts on driving engagement, and taking advantage of mobile tools, violations can be significantly less dreadful for community and property managers. To learn more about ways you can reduce and manage HOA violations within your community, check out our core tips for violations management in our Definitive Guide to Association Management.