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How Condo Associations and HOAs can Effectively Enforce Rules

Condo Associations and HOAs often find it a bit challenging to enforce all the rules. Not enforcing rules can upset members, cause issues, and possibly even create a legal issue. Here we explain the importance of implementing and enforcing rules, and provide resources so condo and HOA boards can make it manageable.

Rules are meant to be broken?

Townhome, condominium, and homeowners’ association boards exist to create a functional decision-making process, and represent the best interest of the homeowners. If the board doesn’t enforce the rules, even unpopular rules, it fosters a hostile relationship between board members and regular association members. The members will feel as though they cannot trust the board to enforce other rules that matter to the homeowner, or to make proper decisions.

The rules were created for a reason… to keep the peace. A good rule may not be actively keeping the peace today, but a new homeowner or renter could move in at any point and the rule will suddenly help. However, if a rule is no longer relevant for the community due to changing times or circumstances, create an amendment to change HOA rules. Otherwise, keeping order and making your job pleasant requires the board enforce the rules.

Here are some of the rules, and how to enforce them, that we’ve written about in detail:

Lawsuits

There are a few Illinois and federal laws that may result in a homeowner attempting to sue the board. Often the context of this is:

  • the HOA is being unreasonable or discriminatory in not enforcing the rules, or
  • the board favors individual interest over community interest.

Even if you are likely to win, getting sued has time, money, and morale implications on the entire association. Your HOA agenda and minutes, including executive session minutes, should meet requirements every single time as a vital measure to avoiding lawsuits.

How to make it all manageable

Some associations are inconsistently enforcing rules because they don’t have the time and tools to keep up with it all. Between managing building maintenance, homeowners’ meetings, and condo security, many association boards find themselves overwhelmed. If this is the case, it may be time to bring in property management expertise. Community property management services can turn things around. They help with finances, building maintenance management, and enforcing rules. Often, you can hire them for just some of their services, or for all of their services.

 

Photo by Paul Sableman via the 2.0 Generic license