Often, when we meet with board members of a community that is considering hiring Key Community Management to manage their homeowners association, is seems like it’s the first day of the HOA’s existence and the board of directors just got a new job. We understand that the job of board membership does not come with a paycheck, and understanding all there is to know about how to manage an HOA can be an overwhelming task for volunteers. If you don’t have a professional HOA management company assisting you effectively, that creates a greater challenge. It can be overwhelming for board members to know how best to enforce their homeowners association’s covenants with consistency. The goal through consistent enforcement of your covenants is for your community to experience a higher rate of compliance.
Things We Have Heard From HOA Board Members
What we hear often is that board members don’t feel informed and educated by their current management company, not to mention NOT being armed with the tools in order to be proactive. Or, if they are a self-managing homeowners association, they are not sure where to go for helpful resources to make their job easier. Board members often tell us that nothing in their community has ever been uniformly and consistently enforced per their governing documents. As volunteers often with no prior experience, HOA board members need guidance and that’s where a professional HOA management company comes in.
HOA Policies Are A Key To Compliance
Regarding covenant enforcement, the goal at Key Community Management is to ensure prompt compliance, not add a multitude of fines to owners’ accounts. By meeting this goal, owners will be increasingly proud of their home investment. With the help of our primary law firm, Moretz & Skufca, we help you create a logical, simple policy for areas of enforcement like:
- If homeowners don’t pay their assessments, the HOA can’t meet its annual budget needs and this affects everyone.
- Pool access management
- Cloud-based technology allows us to revoke common area access which helps prompt owners to bring their account current.
- Violation enforcement
- If violations aren’t enforced, the community environment suffers and this is noticed by both residents and visitors.
By creating these policies, as board members change over time, the process is still in place. This eliminates the need to revisit these basic areas of enforcement with every new board. From time-to-time the board may certainly need to revise and update some processes, but the basics are in place.
When we take over a new homeowners association, if the covenants have not been enforced in the past, we find it is helpful to mail a letter to all owners regarding the key violations that will begin to be strictly enforced beginning on a particular date. This gives the homeowners notice, and that is always appreciated. Our goal is to help you build a stronger sense of community and increase property values.
Begin with a Review of Your HOA’s Documents
We understand board members often don’t read the Covenants in depth enough to understand every aspect of what is critical to enforce. With the support of the Law Office of Moretz & Skufca, we want to work with you to let you know what to focus on. I have listed three main area of concern for an HOA and how we process compliance:
Homeowners Associations Covenants: HOA Collections
Can a homeowners association REALLY foreclose on a house? The answer is yes. It is normally mandatory to pay assessments in a homeowners association. Our goal is to educate homeowners about their duty to contribute to their community’s annual budget and to help them understand what those line item expenses are. Even without tangible amenities like a pool or walking trails, there are still expenses for maintaining the association that many people don’t realize.
We want to help generate pride in owners by reminding them that they are a member of a community and the goal is to maintain and increase their property value. With a consistent collection process, everyone gets the message. Creating a collection policy written in layman’s terms according to your covenants can be very helpful. Our law firm can create that for your association for a nominal fee. This would be mailed to all homeowners so everyone is made aware of the collection process.
A typical collection process may include:
- Late notice
- Final notice of delinquency
- Lien (administered by law office)
- Foreclosure (administered by law office)
- Late fee structure implemented through collection process based on covenants, state law, and board policy
Homeowners Associations Covenants: Pool Access Management
If your homeowners association has a pool, a great tool for collecting assessments is trying that obligation to getting access to your community pool. Covenants and state law allow you to revoke an owner’s common area privileges for non-payment of assessments by holding a hearing. Association voting rights may also be revoked.
A cloud-based pool gate access system allows us to remotely activate and deactivate resident’s pool keys as needed.
How many times have families come to our office with children wearing swim suits and arm floaties? Payment = your kids are going to the pool today! It works every time.
Homeowners Associations Covenants: Violation Enforcement
When taking over a new client, we become familiar with the Use Restrictions specified in your covenants and any rules and regulations you have implemented. It is important to follow through on the approved process for addressing each violation. A violation policy helps. The law firm can create this document based on your document’s specifications, written in easy to understand language. This would be mailed to all homeowners.
A typical violation process may include:
- Compliance letter
- Second violation letter
- Hearing notice
- Hearing result letter
- Fines (Up to $100 per day based on NC GS 47-F)
Neighbors often talk, and when it becomes known that if you don’t comply with the covenants and rules and regulations, there is a consequence for non-compliance, people take note of it and this produces compliance. It’s that simple. What was once a negative epidemic can become a positive chain reaction!
So if your HOA is not working for you and you need some help, contact us today for a review of your HOA enforcement process.