Homeowners associations (HOAs) help preserve property values in residential communities across Florida. They establish certain standards for resident conduct and property maintenance. They may require that lawns remain under a certain length or prohibit leaving trash bins on the curb for more than 24 hours. HOAs keep the maintenance standards for homes consistent and can reduce how often neighbors inconvenience one another.
Overall, HOAs tend to have a net positive impact on community members. However, it takes money to maintain an attractive community. Residents in HOA neighborhoods typically have to pay fees every month that may range from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000. Such fees help manage community amenities, like the gym or the pool.
People experiencing financial struggles and those who change mortgage companies might fail to pay their HOA fees. How can HOAs help motivate homeowners to remain in compliance with those fees?
Making obligations clear
Clearly and effectively communicating with residents about the monthly HOA fees and any changes to those fees can be of the utmost importance for effective enforcement. After all, residents cannot pay what they do not realize they owe. Additionally, if there are issues with delayed payments or underpaid fees, the HOA should send written notice to property owners as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the fees reach a certain amount.
Imposing specific penalties
Florida HOAs have several options for enforcing the obligation to pay certain fees. Those options include restricting access to certain community amenities, charging late fees, placing a lien against a property or even foreclosing on a home. Property owners facing tangible consequences might take action to bring their accounts back into compliance more quickly than those simply receiving strongly worded letters from the HOA.
Consistently enforcing HOA fee schedules is also important. If homeowners hear that certain people received preferential treatment when they missed payments, they might then try to claim that any enforcement actions they face are discriminatory or inappropriate.
HOAs need to proactively and consistently enforce community fee schedules and other standards. Board members who understand how the HOA can assert its authority may be in a better position to help their community maintain certain standards and financial solvency.