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Tips for Enforcing HOA Rules and Regulations

Homeowners Association (HOA) rules and regulations are important for keeping communities in order and homeowners happy. However, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to overlook some rules. So, how can the board enforce rules effectively? Today, we’ll discuss how to enforce HOA rules and regulations, tips for fair rule enforcement, and what to do if the HOA is not enforcing rules properly. Read along to learn more!

Contents of This Article: 

How to Enforce HOA Rules and Regulations

We see and adhere to rules on a daily basis, whether it’s being mindful of handicapped parking, buckling our seatbelts when we get into the car, or following the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” rule. That said, breaking these rules can lead to consequences. But what happens when you break the rules of your HOA community?

Each homeowners association (HOA) has its own governing documents, including the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Everyone within the community gets a copy of the CC&Rs and the HOA rules and regulations–all important documents for homeowners within the association. Homeowners will need to read the rules and pledge to follow them. 

However, not all homeowners will read the HOA rules and regulations. Some may only pay attention to rules that apply to them, like owning a pet or painting their home. The rest may go unrecognized until a violation happens. At that point, it may be too late for them to do anything but deal with the HOA rule enforcement process. 

Who Enforces HOA Rules and Regulations?

The HOA board enforces the homeowners association’s rules and covenants. That said, the association must enforce all rules fairly and remain unbiased with their consequences. However, it’s not unheard of for associations to lose focus regarding rule enforcement.  

Under-enforcing and over-enforcing rules can present consequences to the community. Sometimes, it may lead to angry homeowners teaming up against the board. 

As such, if board members don’t want to be responsible for enforcing HOA rules and regulations, hiring an HOA management company is helpful. Not only will they help enforce rules, but they can also coordinate meetings, prepare an annual budget, collect dues, and pursue legal action if necessary. 

6 Tips for Enforcing HOA Rules and Regulations

Board members need to know what reasonable consequences are for HOA violations. Not all violations are the same, so knowing what constitutes certain violations is important. Here are a few tips for enforcing HOA rules and regulations. 


  1. Give a Warning
  2. Impose Fines
  3. Suspend Rights and Privileges
  4. Place a Lien
  5. Adopt an Enforcement Policy
  6. Ensure Uniform Enforcement

Give a Warning

One small violation may be an honest mistake. So, instead of imposing consequences right away, issue a warning first. The warning should be in writing and include the details of the violation, whether it’s parking in an undesignated area or throwing a party that’s too loud. Usually, a warning is enough for homeowners to scale back their behavior and avoid another consequence. 

Impose Fines

If a homeowner continues to violate the HOA’s rules or policies, the next step is to impose fines. After all, nobody likes getting fined for their own behavior, so monetary penalties can work well to deter further violations. However, it’s important to ensure the fine is reasonable–not too large but not too cheap to make a difference in behavior. 

Suspend Rights and Privileges

Living in an HOA gives residents access to various services and amenities, such as pools, parks, or other shared spaces. Additionally, homeowners have the right to participate in community votes. If fines don’t work and a homeowner continues to violate the HOA rules and regulations, it may be time to suspend their rights and privileges. 

Place a Lien

In serious cases, such as if a homeowner repeatedly fails to pay fines or assessments, the HOA may be forced to place a lien on their property. A lien is a legal claim against the property that may lead to foreclosure if the debt remains unpaid for a certain amount of time. 

Adopt an Enforcement Policy

Enforcing rules within an HOA isn’t easy. However, adopting a standard procedure can make the process easier. That said, your CC&Rs and bylaws should have specific details on how to deal with HOA violations. If you don’t have procedures in place, you’ll want to check with your association’s attorney and create one to ensure fairness and legal compliance. 

Ensure Uniform Enforcement

One of the most important tips for enforcing HOA rules and regulations is ensuring uniform enforcement throughout the community. As an HOA board member, you are responsible for enforcing rules fairly and consistently. Bias and favoritism are not acceptable or tolerated and can have legal consequences. 

What to Do If Your HOA Is Not Enforcing Rules

It’s important to remember that while HOA board members are in charge of rule enforcement, they are also homeowners. That means that they must follow the rules and bylaws, too. Bylaws focus on the standards by which an association is run or managed. 

So, what happens if the board doesn’t enforce HOA bylaws? Whether they’re not holding the monthly board meeting, failing to provide notice for upcoming meetings, or ignoring requirements themselves, these are all punishable violations. As such, if you’re a homeowner or another board member, you’ll want to take action against those who don’t follow the bylaws or other HOA rules and covenants. Here are a few ways to proceed. 

  • Gather Evidence- If you suspect negligence or misconduct from an HOA board member, you’ll want to gather as much evidence as you can. You may even want to gather witness statements to strengthen your case.
  • Schedule a Meeting- Board members are busy people, so it helps to schedule a meeting with them instead of bombarding them with your complaint. When you meet, bring a copy of the governing documents and show the board the specific rule or bylaw in question.
  • Speak Up During a Board Meeting- Board meetings are open to homeowners, so it may be a good idea to attend if you have a complaint. During the meeting, you can share your complaint or concern and may gain support from other homeowners.
  • File a Lawsuit- If all your attempts fail and the association doesn’t address or take action against your complaint, you may need to file a lawsuit. While it can be a costly and lengthy process, it may be a necessary last resort if you’re dealing with a difficult board member.

Why Rule Enforcement Is Necessary

Following and enforcing HOA rules and regulations is crucial for everyone involved–homeowners, board members, and HOA managers. Without proper rule enforcement, a community can quickly become chaotic and hard to manage. 

Need More Advice? contact us today!

If you’re looking for help managing your HOA community, look no further than Bay Property Management Group. Our team of experienced professionals can help ensure the properties and members within your community are properly managed and well taken care of. So, contact us today to learn more about how we can help your Philadelphia HOA community succeed!