Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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How can HOAs enforce their rules?

Running or operating a homeowner’s association can come with a variety of difficulties, one of which comes with enforcing the rules and regulations of the association. Homeowners do not always abide by the rules laid out by the association, either by accident or with intent. How can homeowner’s associations successfully enforce these rules and what can happen when someone breaks these rules?

Warning and fines

In many cases, when homeowners break the rules and regulations of the association it is due to ignorance or accident. For these circumstances, an association may not want to impose harsh punishment or enforcement. Issuing a warning in the form of a written letter can be an effective method for enforcing the rules of the association.

If the activities continue, or the rule broken is more severe, issuing a fine is another method of enforcement. These fines can also accumulate and result in legal action involving HOA lawyers.


Serious situations call for the institution of a lien. This is usually the first action before going to court. It can help a HOA negotiate a settlement as well as enforce the rules of the association.


In the most serious cases, a last resort is to initiate a foreclosure upon the violating homeowner. This is a final measure that is sometimes used if the previous steps are not effective and/or the rule violation is particularly severe.

Tenants and homeowners are obligated to obey the rules and regulations set up by the HOA, including those that regulate the architectural changes to homes. If they fail to do so, these are a few methods a HOA can use to enforce these policies effectively and efficiently.

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