Homeowners’ Associations establish and enforce bylaws in the community. Those bylaws outline the rules and regulations for homeowners to follow. Although bylaws should keep a community safe and pleasant, unfair enforcement creates frustrations and disputes among the community’s residents. When you feel targeted by unfair HOA bylaw enforcement, you might have a case against the Association.
There are some key indications of unfair bylaw enforcement to watch for.
When an HOA enforces bylaws against certain homeowners while overlooking similar violations by others, that indicates unfair enforcement.
Most HOA bylaws define the standard penalties for certain violations. If the penalties issued for those violations vary greatly among homeowners or seem disproportionately harsh for certain people, this may indicate unfair enforcement practices.
Lack of due process
Homeowners should receive proper notice of alleged violations with an opportunity to resolve the problem, appeal the finding or request a fair hearing. When an HOA omits these steps, that often qualifies as unfair enforcement.
Discrimination or retaliation
Discriminatory enforcement occurs when HOAs target homeowners based on protected factors, including race, disability or gender. When a homeowner expresses concern about this type of practice or challenges the way that the HOA handles certain complaints, any unreasonable or excessive enforcement as a result may qualify as retaliation.
Ignoring legitimate concerns
When a resident raises legitimate concerns about the interpretation or enforcement of a bylaw, the HOA should respond to those concerns. Failing to address or respond to those concerns indicates unfair enforcement practices within the Association.
This Old House reports that almost 30% of the U.S. population lives within an HOA as of 2021. With so many citizens bound to HOA bylaws, everyone should recognize the signs of unfair enforcement.