PROPER USE OF INTERNAL ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES CAN AVOID COSTLY HOA LITIGATION

It is common for homeowners associations to have conflicts with association members regarding alleged violations of the association’s governing documents by the homeowner member. All too often these conflicts are not properly handled by the association and mushroom into protracted litigation that is extremely costly to the association, divisive, and unproductive. By properly utilizing internal enforcement procedures, a homeowners association can effectively resolve many conflicts relating to governing document violations and avoid becoming embroiled in litigation.

When a homeowners association seeks to enforce provisions contained in the association’s governing documents against one of its members, the association must have clearly defined fair and reasonable standards and procedures for the enforcement of its governing documents. It must follow those procedures and make reasonable decisions in good faith which are not arbitrary or capricious. The association’s governing documents should clearly set forth the required procedures for enforcing the association’s governing documents. Such procedures should cover the reporting and investigation of alleged violations, the standards for hearings pertaining to an alleged violation, post hearing procedures, fine schedules, and other possible remedies. The governing documents should also contain provisions that provide for procedural due process in connection with the action that is taken to seek enforcement of those governing documents.

A homeowners association’s standards and procedures for the enforcement of its governing documents should, at a minimum, provide for:

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