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Subject: Zero Tolerance Policy
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Author Messages
GeorgeW2
(Arizona)

Posts:1


03/29/2007 11:39 AM  
My HOA just enacted a Zero Tolerance Policy. While I understand the importance of complying with the CC&Rs, I'm wondering if Zero Tolerance is legal.
MartyD
(Florida)

Posts:43


03/29/2007 11:54 AM  
The board can adopt whatever stance they feel is neccesary to achieve compliance with the CC&R's. It is the boards duty to make sure that the governing documents are followed. Most boards go into this mode when things appear to be getting out of hand. What ends up happening is they start off "GUNG HO" and then "BOG DOWN" in the enforcement process. Usually early burn out of the board will occur before "zero tolerance" is met.
The bigger the community the harder the enforcement becomes...someone, somewhere is always going to be non-conforming and most HOA boards don't have the mettle to go the distance...
Bottom line.....always strive for "ZT". You may get closer to your goal than you thought.
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


03/29/2007 4:34 PM  
Posted By GeorgeW2 on 03/29/2007 11:39 AM
My HOA just enacted a Zero Tolerance Policy. While I understand the importance of complying with the CC&Rs, I'm wondering if Zero Tolerance is legal.




Yes, it's legal. Break the rules, face the consequences.

What are the other choices, 10% tolerance, 20% tolerance? Or do you wink at fellow board members and hold the other members to the rules?

Ron
SC
BradD2
(Florida)

Posts:418


03/29/2007 5:35 PM  
There is enforcement with understand as well. It sounds like there will be no exceptions regardless of the circumstances. The board needs to be remain reasonable and just in their actions.
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


03/30/2007 4:50 AM  
Posted By BradD2 on 03/29/2007 5:35 PM
There is enforcement with understand as well. It sounds like there will be no exceptions regardless of the circumstances. The board needs to be remain reasonable and just in their actions.




A real example:

I have been getting complaints about a car parked on the street overnight from a homeowner. His neighbor also parks on the street from time to time. When I asked him who the other cars belong to (they park in front of a vacant lot, not in front of their house), he told me their names and that he had told them "an occasinal overnighter was no problem" to him.

Now as a board member, how can I possibly send a letter to one homeowner for a parking violation while ignoring parking violations of his neighbor two houses away?

To further complicate matters, the complainant and his neighbor are one race while the other family is a "minority" race.

Ron
SC
PaulM
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:1347


03/30/2007 4:54 AM  
George:
It sounds like your 'Board' may just be 'fed up' with non-compliance and now they are getting down to business.

A municipality officer once told me that he has observed 'community government' as usually following a pattern:
1) at the beginning, everyone wants to be 'friendly' so they overlook some problems--too lenient.
2) a new Board gets in, and they want to clean up all the problems and they create enemies--too harsh.
3) another new Board gets in, and there is a status quo, the neighbors are relatively friendly, and know when not to 'cross the line'--just right!.

PaulM
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:1347


03/30/2007 5:04 AM  
RonaldW:
You must cite non-compliance as it occurs. Now, that doesn't mean that prior to sending the 'dreaded notice', you or your Prop.Mgr. cannot call the
'proposed violator' to ask about the problem. There may be extenuating circumstances for a one-time parking violation and 'business ethics' may have to come into play. However, for an ongoing, continuous violation against an easily understood rule takes a business approach too, and it is to enforce a violation for what is a bold disregard for the rules.

As always, there is a 'nice' way to do what can sometimes be a 'dirty' job.
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


03/30/2007 5:22 AM  
Posted By PaulM on 03/30/2007 5:04 AM
RonaldW:
You must cite non-compliance as it occurs. Now, that doesn't mean that prior to sending the 'dreaded notice', you or your Prop.Mgr. cannot call the
'proposed violator' to ask about the problem. There may be extenuating circumstances for a one-time parking violation and 'business ethics' may have to come into play. However, for an ongoing, continuous violation against an easily understood rule takes a business approach too, and it is to enforce a violation for what is a bold disregard for the rules.

As always, there is a 'nice' way to do what can sometimes be a 'dirty' job.




We do it as we find it, not necessarilly as it occurs. We have no MC, we have no "inspectors". We rely on the ACC members, the BOD members, and a few concerned citizens. Overnight parking on the street is a difficult violation to cite because nobody wants to drive the neighborhood at midnight and again at 6:00 AM. In this case, I can see both locations from my front window. The problem is that the homeowner is reporting one neighbor while in effect "giving permission" to the other neighbor for the same violation. The "concerned citizens" seem to overlook their friends and report their "non-friends".

We find that we have no trouble with 90% of the homeowners, the other 10% seem to think that the CC&Rs are not rules, just "suggestions" and that anytime they get a visit or violation letter that the HOA is "picking on them".



Ron
SC
MartyD
(Florida)

Posts:43


03/30/2007 5:43 AM  
Letter of the Law...or spirit of the Law.
Zero Tolerance is where most boards want to be but in the real world its unattainable for the majority of HOA's.

Take for example yard maintenance issues...After a hard winter, you have multiple lawns in the community that don't fare well and in several instances the homeowners are looking at a total re-sod. Now I know the saying "If you can't afford to live here then move to someplace you can". Being able to "afford" to live in a particular place didn't come with a rider in the documents that stated I was required to re-sod my lawn ever year. Some community members want to hold the board to the "letter of the Law"...meaning: Do whatever it takes to get these folks lawns back into compliance...Letters, Fines, Liens...lets completely alienate this member until they have corrected this issue. Zero Tolerance at work.

Same Example again.. but this time you explain to the members with the hosed up yards that "you can sympathize with their situation" and as a board you must remind them of the boards responsibility to each and every member to enforce the CC&R's. This is where it gets "warm and fuzzy"...the board offers to help the member with the cost of re-sodding and/or volunteer labor to help with the restoration. Neighbor helping neighbor if you will or working thru the "spirit of the Law" to achieve the same goal. Instead of distancing these members from the organization you have made it stronger. You may have stepped on a few hardliners toes in the process and they may be planning a coup as we speak.
IMHO

Confucius say...
To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.
-- Confucius

RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


03/30/2007 6:11 AM  
Marty, you're not a board member are you?

""...the board offers to help the member with the cost of re-sodding......"

Really? The board is going to spend association funds to help an individual homeowner? How do you think that will sit with the other homeowners? Think about it. Read some of the other threads on this board.

The condition of my neighbor's property affects the value of my home and my quality of life. If my neighbor lets his/her lawn go to weeds (for whatever reason), the weed seeds will blow into my yard and germinate. And what if I'm trying to sell my property and the property next to it is in disrepair?

I'll grant you, the condition of a lawn or paint job is subjective, there's some leeway. We cannot count weeds or grass plants per square foot, but at some point they may need to be told to fix it by whatever means necessary.

From subjective to objective:

A pile of trash at curbside on the wrong day or a vehicle parked in violation is cut and dry. It's there or it's not.

Ron
SC
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


03/30/2007 6:13 AM  
Posted By MartyD on 03/30/2007 5:43 AM
........... Being able to "afford" to live in a particular place didn't come with a rider in the documents that stated I was required to re-sod my lawn ever year. .........




No but it probably did come with the requirement to keep it in good condition.

Ron
SC
MartyD
(Florida)

Posts:43


03/30/2007 8:02 AM  


Yes Ronald, I am a board member.
the scenario I painted was a real HOA situation. The board has offered to pay for re-sodding if it is a financial burden on the homeowner with the understanding of being payed back asap. Guess what ? We have never had to spend a dime toward that end! How does it sit with other homeowners?...well...of course they are all for it because the sooner it is back to normal the less effect is has on propspective buyers trolling the neighborhood for a new home...I guess volunteering to help this guy with the re-sodding labor is out of the question also?
You are 100% right that your neighbor's property affects the value of your home and everyone else. I do not believe that his poor lawn condition has any affect on YOUR quality of life unless you've developed an Ulcer worrying about it or maybe stroking because you can't handle a little weed growth. By the sound of it that would appear to be the case.

"We cannot count weeds or grass plants per square foot, but at some point they may need to be told to fix it by whatever means necessary".

Did I not include in my scenario the friendly approach to this situation or did you just chose to ignore that bit. We inform them of what has to be done according to the CC&R's and we don't condemn them because of their misfortune. If the violation continues beyond what would be deemed as reasonable for a "clear thinking individual" then we take a stronger stance.

We attempt to work smarter not harder and sometimes doing the right neighborly thing is far easier than taking a hardline approach and alienating the community. We want our HOA to be a good thing and not thought of as something the community could live without.
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


03/30/2007 10:04 AM  
Posted By MartyD on 03/30/2007 8:02 AM


Yes Ronald, I am a board member.
the scenario I painted was a real HOA situation. The board has offered to pay for re-sodding if it is a financial burden on the homeowner with the understanding of being payed back asap. ..........




How do you account for that in your budget?

Do you consider it a loan with interest and is it put in writing?

What happens if the homeowner fails to pay the loan back?

Do you also forgive homeowners who fall behind in their assessments?

There are dozens of threads on this forum accusing the HOA or BOD of misusing association funds. Take a few minutes to read them.


As for my neighbor's property affecting my quality of life, I don't want to look at his/her poorly maintained property or messy yard. I don't want to have to explain it to guests or relatives either. I paid a premium to buy into a nice looking neighborhood and I want it to stay that way.

I often help my neighbors with various tasks. Not as a board member but as a neighbor.

Ron
SC
MartyD
(Florida)

Posts:43


03/30/2007 10:32 AM  
Ronald
On questions 1,2,3...I stated that we have never had to cross that bridge so we have never had to deal with those answers...As a board we established, along with our reserve fund, a humanitarian fundl just for this sort of expenses. Question 4...In the past if someone falls behind..for instance one homeowner developed cancer and ran up a lot of hospital bills and couldn't pay his assessment...one of our board members went around and took up a collection to pay his dues.

There is always going to be some form of accusing towards HOA about how the monies are spent. If you have a board that provides its membership with newsletters on a regular basis and keeps them in the loop of you financial status, then you will have few problems because the members can see that your performing you fiduciary duty.
SidneyP
(Florida)

Posts:302


03/30/2007 11:40 AM  
I happen to have renters on both sides of my TH here in Flordia. The yards has never been taken care of, nothing but weeds (now they do get cut by the HOA landscaper). Our BOD's has done nothing about this, even when I have complained. They told me to speak w/my neighbor first(as I said these are renters) and then and only then can I come to them or the MC w/a problem. One yard is full of hundreds of cigarette butts and on occassion beer cans under the bushes. BUT the bigger problem is our common area. It looks the same, dead bushes, fire ant hills every where, planting beds never been weeded (2002) and I could go on and on. At the last meeting I ask the BOD's how they could ask the HO's to clean up their yards when our own common area (park and entrance) looks worse then most of the HO's yards. They blamed it on the old MC and the landscaper, saying it was only in the contract for him to cut the grass...actually the contract had run out long ago (I have a copy of the contract) and this BOD's has been in charge since Jan/06.


As one poster said, HO's felt the CC&R's are not rules but guidlines, well this is what our Board President told me. They have enforced nothing...When I said something about COMMERICAL vehicles, she said they were not a problem (her friend has one), "now if someone had a semi or a big tow truck, that would be a different story". We have satellite going up daily(in the front of the TH-this is a NONO in our CC&R's, we were told this would be addressed from day one (back Jan/06), never has been, we have no fine structure for any violation, though that was also promised way back when and alot of the lawns look bad because most of the sprinkler heads are broken. The water timers are set to start at midnight on 30 minute cycles, mine happens to come on at 4AM....I have ask repeatedly that they be turned on a week end during the day so HO's could see which are working and which are not. This has not been done. How else are we to know. HO's are suppose to also water their grass but I pay a nice association fee for this to be done.

A community is only as good as it's BOD's, the CC&R's must be enforced totally and equally. If we fine that some of the rules are unreasonable, we should change or ammend them but until then they should be enforced. Theres no such thing as a recall of the Board, only 6 HO's attend meeting or care about the community. I would venture to say over 90% have never even been to the park....They intend to stay there, our annual meeting was 2 months late and proxies were not sent out until I told them they had forgot to send (were mailed 6 days before the meeting), the HO's (most investors)did n't have time to receive them and get them back. Needless to say we didn't have a quorum and a second meeting date was never set. I do realize that it is the HO's responsibility first to follow the rules but it is the BOD's responsibility to protect the investment of the HO's that do follow the rules.




MartyD
(Florida)

Posts:43


03/30/2007 11:51 AM  
Well Sydney,
It appears that your BOD is out of control. Maybe its time for a coup. Gather some other homeowners who are of like opinion and get those petitions going to replace the board. If you can find enough people to stand up and fight and hold the current board responsibile for things not being done then you are on your way to changing the conditions of your environment. If surely it is the way that you describe then you should have no trouble gaining the support that you seek.
BradP
(Kansas)

Posts:2640


03/30/2007 3:13 PM  
Marty:

First off, if homeowners took care of their lawn properly you should encounter very little problem with winter kill. Obviously I see how people take care of it and it doesn't surpise me at all that yards encounter problems from year to year. Lawn care comes with the territory and should be assumed that every couple years you will have to do some reseeding or patchwork, I have to every year in a couple high traffic areas.

I am not a big fan on lending homeowners money. If you do I would highly suggest you have them sign a contract and make them pay interest. I think it is assumed when you buy a home that you will have maintenance costs whether it is repaiting, sod repair, water heater, fridge, etc., if you buy expecting just to pay your house payment every year that is there problem.

Good luck and be careful.
BradD2
(Florida)

Posts:418


03/30/2007 4:01 PM  
Sydney, while this doesn't pertain to your main point I don't believe there is a lot you can do about satellite dishes, due to FCC rulings. It states you can't create or enforce rules which would harm an Owner's reception. I was told by a satellite installer that it had to be on the front of the house for good reception but the TV is in the back. I think they want it on the front for advertising mainly.
RonaldW
(South Carolina)

Posts:901


03/30/2007 4:36 PM  
Posted By BradP on 03/30/2007 3:13 PM
Marty:

First off, if homeowners took care of their lawn properly you should encounter very little problem with winter kill. Obviously I see how people take care of it and it doesn't surpise me at all that yards encounter problems from year to year. Lawn care comes with the territory and should be assumed that every couple years you will have to do some reseeding or patchwork, I have to every year in a couple high traffic areas.

I am not a big fan on lending homeowners money. If you do I would highly suggest you have them sign a contract and make them pay interest. I think it is assumed when you buy a home that you will have maintenance costs whether it is repaiting, sod repair, water heater, fridge, etc., if you buy expecting just to pay your house payment every year that is there problem.

Good luck and be careful.




I don't believe an HOA hould become a lending company. That's not its intended purpose. Again, look through the old threads where homeowners are complaining of the BOD's misuse of association funds. Nothing good can come of this and plenty of bad things can happen. Imagine having to raise assessments because of bad debts from homeowners defaulting on loans.

Ron
SC
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