Homeowners’ associations and board members have a central purpose of building and maintaining a community that members enjoy living in. The main driving force of that structure of community is the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that establish the rules that the members must follow. In most cases, the Board of Directors also has the authority to adopt additional rules, regulations, and policies. By purchasing a home in the community, all members are on notice of the rules, and agree to follow them. Board members have a responsibility to make sure these rules and regulations are clearly and fairly enforced. An HOA that fails to enforce the covenants will quickly find a growing list of serious issues. Any board that selectively enforces the rules, whether it’s regarding certain people or certain rules, will likely lose the confidence of members as well. To help make sure your association is focused on the right things, we put together a guide on how Arizona HOA board members can create and maintain effective covenant enforcement.
How Can an Arizona HOA Enforce Rules?
For any HOA board to be effective they must understand how an Arizona HOA can enforce rules. All associations should adopt an enforcement and fine policy that lays out the process for enforcement. There are some standard options and processes available to any HOA to address members that violate the rules:
- Standard Warning Notices – Arizona HOAs are required to provide proper written notice of any violations to the member(s) in question. To simply and expedite this process, it is important to have some standard templates in place. It is advisable to work with an HOA attorney on these warning templates and review individual infractions to make sure they are addressed correctly. The enforcement and fine policy should allow deviation from the standard process when appropriate, for example severe violations.
- Imposing A Penalty – If any association member violates the rules and guidelines stated in the governing documents, the board members should be prepared to issue fines for non-compliance after the appropriate opportunity to cure the violation has passed. Arizona law provides that fines must be reasonable. The enforcement and fines policy should include presumptive fines for run of the mill violations, but also provide factors for the board to evaluate when determining the fine for less standard violations. For members that continue to violate the rules, it might even be necessary to restrict their rights and community privileges, if allowed by the governing documents.
- Help from an HOA Attorney– If penalties do not get a member to comply with the rules, the association might be forced to pursue legal action. The Brown Law Group offers an enforcement letter program that is very successful in getting owners to comply.
- Contact Police – Board members can only take enforcement so far and should never put themselves at risk. If a violation escalates to illegal and/or dangerous acts, then it is always appropriate to report the matter to the police and allow the justice system to take the lead. Some matters simply must be handled by the appropriate authorities to avoid escalation and unnecessary risk to any other members. Criminal charges against a member can make the process of dealing with their violations easier as well.
More Effective Covenant Enforcement with an Arizona HOA Law Firm
It can be complicated and time-consuming to create enforceable covenants, clearly communicate those to community members, develop a process for addressing violations, and follow through with prompt enforcement actions against any violations. One of the most effective ways to make sure your homeowners’ association is handling all the details of covenant enforcement correctly is to work with an HOA law firm that specializes in HOA representation. The Brown Law Group only represents associations and planned communities in Arizona. Our firm can assist with every detail of covenant enforcement. The Brown Law Group can assist with preparing an effective enforcement and fines policy. Contact us today at 602-952-6925 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment on our website here.
The Brown Law Group shares this article for informational purposes only and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.