Rules, Rules, Rules! Who cares about my trashcan, anyway?
Are your Board and managers “Partners in Power and Profit” and love to apply ridiculous violation fines? No, no, no…! It is a regrettably-common misconception that the manager has the authority and somehow takes benefit from handling rules matters and sending letters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s walk through this:
HOA ≠ CMG
Your HOA hires CMG, among other reasons to administer the rules that were created by developers and lawyers before the first house was built.
Your HOA manager doesn’t set your neighborhood’s rules, enforce them, or benefit from fines for violations.
Your Association manager does take your Association’s written policies and Board interpretations to the street. Your Board gives your manager these specific criteria with which to compare what they see in community tours (and what your neighbors call-in) and assists in determining which goes beyond your Board’s written standards. Ultimately, your Association Board has the responsibility to ensure that the field interpretations follow their own. A good Board will revise and revisit your policies from time to time.
It’s still Important stuff.
The crucial factor is the willingness of the men and women who make up the Association’s Board of directors to enforce the rules that have been created. What could happen if the restrictions are not enforced? An average size community with 100 or more members will invite varying degrees of what constitutes an acceptable standard of differing views of what is attractive and, without certain deed restrictions, there is a good chance of the neighborhood looking dramatically different over time from the way it did when you first bought your home.
Every Association has a different enforcement process but they all typically follow the requirements of the law that violations be either sworn and attested or photographically documented. Photo documentation is highly controversial and in our experience far more unpopular than valuable. Field observations are compared with your elected Board’s list. Most are routinely reviewed by a Board member (or all!) before they are sent. Letters are typically mailed as required by legal precedent and depending on the community Board and your governing documents, sometimes fines are applied for repeat or continuing issues.
A drive through your neighborhood is not like a drive through…
I’ll have a large order of conflict and a side of evil laughter, please.
“Would you like an angry fist shake with that?”
Oh. Yes, please.
But seriously, a drive through the neighborhood is not a fun responsibility. Community Management Group utilizes electric and hybrid vehicles, most conspicuously marked, to make community tours. If you see some person sitting in a car with our logo making a note or driving slowly through the neighborhood, that person is working hard for your community!
Most Associations utilize a series of letters escalating in tone gradually to fines of increasing magnitude. The goal is not to burden individuals with fines or collect those for the Association, (they go directly to your Association’s bank when collected) it is to ensure that the concept and lifestyle conceived by the developers are carried through long term.
Application of fines is a legal consideration and while we will assuredly recommend that Boards carefully follow their governing documents, we also recommend you obtain legal advice in this area if you find yourselves at a conflict with your Board or your rules. Though Covenants differ widely, you always have a right to be heard!
All of our Boards of directors have a high level of faith in Community Management Group and give us the authority to work with property owners toward resolution of open issues. All (but one) allows CMG in certain circumstances to conditionally-waive or adjust fines that your rules have caused to be applied, as long as the matter was corrected.
We recognize that we are all neighbors and friends. We’re going to see you out at the Harris Teeter and we have absolutely no interest in creating conflict. Who likes conflict? Ultimately the goal is to protect preserve and enhance your property values, right?
Covenants enforcement is certainly the most emotional aspect of living in your community. Your Board controls and guides the process and a good Board listens to you! Your manager will certainly share your thoughts with the Board of Directors. Just ask! If your Association is being too strict or perhaps to moderate in their enforcement, speak up!
Your feedback drives the entire process!
Stay in touch.