Are you wondering how to communicate an HOA violation to a resident gracefully? Looking for examples of HOA violation letters to see how others are doing it already?
FACT: Sending violation notices is part of every HOA manager’s or board member’s job.
But notifying residents (who might also be your neighbors) isn’t a small feat. Many managers struggle with writing notice letters to their HOA community. Those people feel comfortable inspecting how their residents follow the community’s rules and regulations. But they often feel unsettled by the idea of sending violation notices to those people who break the rules.
In this post, you’ll discover five tips to help you write an effective HOA violation letter. We’ll also show you examples of violation notices to illustrate those tips and show you how the best notices of violation look like.
So, let’s begin.
What is the notice of violation?
An HOA violation notice is a document that the association sends to a residents it has found in breach of its Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R). The goal of the notice is to inform a resident that their property violates the Governing Documents of the Association and offer suggestions on how to resolve the problem with a time frame for them to do so.
Therefore, the violation notice will include information about the person’s offense and an explanation of which HOAs regulations the person has violated.
Typically, the first violation notice would serve as a friendly reminder, asking the property owner to take the steps necessary to correct the situation. However, if the matter remains unresolved, further notices may include information about possible fines and even legal action to be taken against the resident.
Why do you need to write a proper HOA violation letter?
One reason for sending violation notices is to inform the person of any violation the board has discovered during CC&R inspection, of course.
But there is another reason for writing and sending them too.
You see, proper notice will also serve as formal written documentation proving that both parties have been informed of the violation. Unfortunately, not all violations can be resolved quickly or amicably.
A violation notice will give the board of directors peace of mind that the issue is being resolved by following all the steps per the HOAs documents and guidelines.
It’s that simple.
Unfortunately, the violation process can be complex, and there are certain things that you must remember when writing HOA violation letters.
What do you need to know before sending an HOA violation letter?
The purpose of the violation notice may be simple, but the violation process can be quite complex. As an HOA manager or a board member, you may need to follow certain processes and adhere to the State regulations when issuing a violation notice.
For one, your HOAs governing documents might stipulate how to deliver a notification letter. You may need to post it via standard mail or deliver the notice personally.
Also, some states make provisions for the violation process. These provisions ensure that property owners receive due notice of their violation and are given an opportunity to rectify the situation.
NOTE: If your state doesn’t have any regulations on handling violations, then it’s up to the HOA to determine the required course of action.
5 Tips for writing firm but friendly HOA violation letters
Below is a simple, 5-step process for ensuring that your notice of violation will sound firm but friendly. That it communicates the significance of the issue but without sounding like a direct attack on the person.
Step 1. Explain the purpose of the letter clearly
Let the person know why you’re sending them the notice. Use a professional and cordial tone when describing the violation. Use as much detail so that the person reading your notice will have a complete understanding of the reason for receiving it.
(An opening paragraph of an HOA violation notice stating the purpose of the letter.)
Step 2. Provide evidence of the violation
When compiling the notice letter, make sure to collect all the evidence about the issue at hand.
Photos and descriptions of the violation will help the property owner understand it better and realize the best corrective action.
(Proof of violation in a typical HOA violation letter.)
Step 3. Request the violation to be resolved
Initially, the goal of the first notice letter is to inform a resident about the violation and ask for a resolution. So, offer suggestions for a solution in that first letter, if applicable.
Naturally, some violations will be easy to correct. For example, wrongly parked camper vans or boats need just to be moved out of view. However, you might be informing residents of other, more complex violations. In those cases, suggest some ways to resolve those, if possible.
Step 4. Outline a timeline for making those changes
This is hugely important. You have to tell the person how much time they have to resolve the issue.
But, when outlining a time frame, consider how long it will take to correct the violation. For example, moving a wrongly parked vehicle out of the way takes little to no effort. Resolving construction or landscaping issues, on the other hand, might require help from a professional and also more time.
(Time frame notice in a violation notice)
Step 5. Outline an option for potential disciplinary hearings in case if the homeowner wants to contest the violation letter
Some residents may wish to contest the violation letter they’ve received, and they have a right to do so. An HOA board must allow for such a hearing to happen, and you should state so in your letter.
Simply state scheduling a hearing as a potential next action a person could take, and let them decide whether they want to go ahead with it or not.
(An example of a notice letter offering the option to contest the violation.)
How to automate the process of sending violation letters
Let’s face it; writing and sending HOA violation letters is no small feat.
There’s quite a bit of work involved in the violations process, even if you use a template. You have to upload and format pictures from the inspection, reference the correct CC&Rs, and so on. It all takes time and effort.
But did you know that you can also automate the CC&R enforcement with dedicated software, HOALife.
HOALife is a web and mobile app that allows you to track, report, and enforce CC&R violations with ease. Designed with HOA managers in mind from the ground up, HOALife improves your efficiency and accuracy while automating many aspects of the violations process.
From recording your custom rule violations to sending notice letters in minutes, HOALife is the no.1 tool for HOA managers and boards.