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What enforcement is “required” by a board?

I am on a HOA board that says that if it is written into the CC&R’s and regulatory documents that a violation “MUST” be enforced. HOW MUCH DISCRETION DOES AN ASSOCIATION BOARD HAVE IN DETERMINING WHETHER A PARTICULAR VIOLATION SHOULD BE ENFORCED? Can the board overlook what some members consider “minor” violations.
Examples:
The docs say that external propane tank must be walled in so as not to be visible from a neighords property. A majority are walled in but still visible. Is the HOA required to have members bring into compliance, or can they just overlook it?
Clothesines are prohibited – but if a homeowner decides to solar dry their undies is the board required to have it removed, or can they just overlook i if they do not get complaints from other neighbors?
Weeds over a foot tall are prohibited on unimproved lots. Is the board required to have members bring such a lot into compliance, or can they just overlook it.
Exterior lights must fit certain criteria. Is the board required to have members bring such a lighting into compliance, or can they just overlook it.

What enforcement is “required” by the board? In absence of a formal complaint can they disregard some provisions?

Thank for the input

1 Response

  1. DennisL

    Gerard,
    In general, the association board is required to enforce the restrictions in the governing documents or change them via the amendment process. Having said that, Boards are allow discretional authority as long as they act reasonable and treat all homeowners fairly. That does not mean equally only fairly. One homeowner may have a specific reason that prevents him from complying. The board could use their discretion to waive the requirement on that individual without being prevented from enforcing that requirement on everyone else without that mitigating situation. Relative to all of your specific examples the board does have the discretion to not enforce the restriction as long as they do it across the board. They cannot selectively enforce for some while not enforcing for others without mitigating justification.
    It is often very difficult to change or remove a restriction that no-longer serves the community based on the number of votes needed to do so that is why I’ll be working to propose legislation to relax some of those requirement in state law.
    Dennis

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