One of the primary purposes for the creation of a homeowners’ association (HOA) is to guide the development and expansion of a local community. HOAs help preserve property values and create a standard community aesthetic.

As a member of an HOA with a role on the board or simply a desire to maintain the existing standards, you may have questions about how to bring an enforcement action against a noncompliant resident living in your community.  There are a variety of enforcement options available, the appropriateness of which may vary depending on the exact circumstances.

Unattractive or annoying issues may require a cease-and-desist notice

An HOA typically has a written collection of rules and standards that all local property owners read and agree to before purchasing a property within the community. That means that John Doe is perfectly aware of the restrictions on the color of siding that he can install, just like his wife should know that she can’t grow a vegetable garden in place of the front lawn.

When the primary concern with someone’s action or lack thereof is that it is unattractive or frustrating for other residents, the first step toward enforcement should likely be a cease-and-desist letter. This letter advises the homeowner of their violation, provides them a timeline in which to make repairs and advises them of potential future actions you may take if they don’t correct the issue promptly.

A civil suit through the courts may become necessary

Some people are too stubborn to acknowledge when they have made a mistake, even if you point that mistake out to them in writing. If a property owner who has violated the rules of the local HOA refuses to correct the issue, you may have no choice but to take them to court and request that the courts order their compliance with community standards.

Although this is typically the second step in enforcement efforts, it may be the first step you take in the event that someone’s breach of HOA terms creates an active danger for other members of the community or neighborhood.