As a member of a homeowners' association (HOA), you're legally required to follow all rules and regulations. At first glance, having rules for a neighborhood or community may seem restrictive; however, there are many benefits to having a robust set of guidelines.
What Are HOA Rules?
Rules can vary by community, most HOA rules and regulations are located in the association's governing documents. These documents will include your HOA's articles of incorporation, Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), and bylaws. These documents will help specify rules for your community, including architectural guidelines, parking enforcement, and more.
Who Makes & Enforces Community Rules?
Usually, these documents and rules are created at the formation of a community by the developer. However, they can be updated by the HOA's board of directors. This association board is also responsible for enforcing the rules among residents.
Benefits of Rule Enforcement
When enforced consistently, the benefits of these community rules include:
- Preserving the aesthetics of an area
- Protecting and enhancing home values
- Enforcing the community's Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) & Bylaws
- Maintaining the property of the association and its owners
How to Encourage HOA Rule Compliance
If your board does its part to prevent violations in the first place, the net effect will be less-stressed board members, happier residents, and all-around more beautiful communities. Below, are six ways boards can encourage rule compliance in their community.
1. Address issues directly.
Identify current behaviors and consequences of said behavior if it continues. Be authentic and make sure to have a compelling reason as to why it's important to the community.
2. Explain intentions.
Explain where the board derives its authority to govern it to remove doubt. Help residents understand that it doesn't come from a desire to intimidate, but to inform.
3. Create a committee.
Create a committee comprised of homeowners who aren't on the board and who aren't related to the board members to investigate and assist the board with determining the need for the rule.
4. Ask for input.
Don't simply vote on a rule. Take the time to gather information and discuss and debate all input from residents before creating a rule.
5. Give notice.
Give notice of the proposed rule before it's discussed and adopted. You should also give a reasonable time frame for residents to respond—usually 15-30 days.
6. Communicate well and often.
Regularly remind homeowners about new rules in annual notices, newsletters, and on community websites.
Learn More About HOA Rules
Want to learn more about community rules? Check out our free webinar about HOA rules that includes exclusive content from our community experts. You can watch "HOA Rule Creation & Enforcement," anytime, and it comes with a free ebook to help you follow along learn even more!