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How to handle it when a resident violates the CC&Rs

The covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) that govern a homeowners association (HOA) aren’t just there for show. Not only do they help maintain property values, but they also help make a community more enjoyable for everybody who lives there. 

What happens, then, when you have a resident flouting the rules? Here are some things to keep in mind: 1. 

1. You don’t want a full-scale fight over minor violations

Maybe Mr. Andrews forgot to pull their trash cans back in (again) on Monday morning, or maybe Ms. Brown forgot to get authorization in advance for an indoor modification that would have been approved. 

Don’t lose sight of what’s important just because a rule got broken. Issue warnings and talk to the homeowners about the importance of obeying the CC&Rs. 

2. Beware of setting precedents that you don’t want to follow

Suppose Mr. Cooper is in the habit of throwing lavish – and loud – parties that violate the CC&Rs. In that case, you can’t permit that kind of behavior to continue simply because he’s wealthy, well-connected or on the HOA committee. 

If you don’t evenly enforce the rules, you could set a precedent that will come back to haunt you in court if a situation escalates when another resident wants the same latitude. 

3. Know when to negotiate and when to get legal assistance

With negotiation, you can resolve many disputes with residents in a community controlled by an HOA. If the property owner isn’t amenable to any proposed solutions, you may need legal guidance. 

You should also look for legal help when homeowners want an exemption or a variance from the CC&Rs, just to ensure that you aren’t setting the stage for problems with the other residents down the line.