The violation chart I posted for April seemed to generate a bit of interest, so I thought I’d put up the charts for July and August.
Since we’ve had a bit of rain over the last month or so, you’ll obviously note that the Landscaping notices are up. But please keep in mind that we’ve instructed the management company to be very lenient on “short weeds” that have only recently sprouted due to recent rain. That does mean that the uptick in Landscaping violations represents a LOT of taller, long-term grass around the community.
And remember that the first notice really is a “Courtesy Notice”. The intent is to be a reminder that there is something on your lot that needs attention. I get it: we’re all busy, and sometimes too busy to notice something that we would normally deal with. Normally you won’t get a second notice for two weeks… and even that notice is not a fine. We don’t want you to put it off for several weeks before it becomes a huge issue, but if you have an extenuating circumstance, contact our Community Manager Lisa with information about your situation, and we’ll do what we can to accommodate, short-term.
Strict, or Lenient?
As your association president, I’m a little more involved with the community members than many HOA leaders in other communities. I generally get several emails a week from members and residents on one topic or another, and often hear about concerns relating to violations. Like our parking issues, there is a definite split in the feedback I get.
About a third of you really hate HOAs and violation notices and everything that does with it. I get it: you want to do your thing without being bothered by someone telling you what to do. There are neighborhoods not far from here with no active association and no violation notices, and they don’t look very nice. I’m sorry to tell you that HOAs are here to stay, like them or not.
Another third of the contacts I get are really information requests, people wanting to know more about where the rules are (our governing documents), who does the community compliance tours (our community manager and one other compliance person share responsibility), and what can you do if you have a specific issue or question (contact Lisa).
The other third of you want to know why we’re so lenient on violators. The folks with this sort of inquiry usually take great care in keeping their lot in good shape by spraying for weeds, watering their plants, repairing any damaged areas, etc., and they want to know why we’re not making everyone else do their part to keep the community looking nice.
We can’t make anyone do anything. But as you can tell, we send a lot of notices.
I’m in the process of rewriting our policies on violations and fines. (There’s a new policy out on Noise and Nuisance Complaints. Have you read it? See Policies here.) The main reason for revising a number of our policies is to make the processes more transparent. Right now they don’t describe the process very well, and with the revision, I hope to explain it so that anyone that wants to know can easily find out.
But even the current version mentions the first “Courtesy Notice” and the next “Notice of Intent to Fine”, which really is similar to the courtesy notice in that there is no fine attached… but a warning that the next notice will be a fine. The first fine amount in the current policy is always $25, and the second one is $50, and typically the notices are spaced 2 weeks apart for ongoing issues like weeds in the yard or parking on the granite area. if you don’t take care of the issue, and you don’t contact Lisa to discuss the situation, then you’ll like continue to receive additional notices every 2 weeks, with escalating fine amounts.
But what happens if we’ve sent out 5-6 notices and fines and you’ve done nothing? Please don’t let it get to this!! But if you do, the board normally will authorize a letter from the association attorney asking for your immediate compliance and contact – not with the community manager, but with the attorney. If by the next board meeting there has still been no communication and no resolution, we will likely authorize the attorney to request a court order for a civil injunction. Nobody wants it to get to this, but the association has no alternative if you refuse to respond to the notices.
Your best bet, if you get a notice of any type, is to send an email to our Community Manager Lisa explaining what you plan to do… even if it will take you longer than a week or two to get it done! Normally that’s all it takes, as long as you take care of the issue in a reasonable timeframe.