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Subject: Sample friendly warning letter
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Author Messages
KellyC8
(Washington)

Posts:2


08/24/2015 8:31 PM  
Hello - I am new to the website. Lots of great info out here! Question - I am looking for a friendly warning letter for common issues, like leaving a trailer out in front. Or lawn needs maintenance or bushes are overgrown. I have a pretty formal letter, but would like a sample softer letter.

Thanks!

Kelly
PitA


Posts:0


08/25/2015 4:52 AM  
Y'all are a BUSINESS.

Civil, yes.

Cordial, possibly.

Friendly, NO NO NO.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10521


08/25/2015 7:43 AM  
Always include reference to the rule in violation and the consequences. That means referencing the exact wording in the CC&R's/By-laws that was violated. Plus if you have a fining schedule list the punishment associated with that violation. You also include options for resolving the issue. That is attending a meeting, paying the fine, or the HOA can fix/charge the owner for it. (If not paid then HOA can lien for what is owed).

That is about as friendly you are going to get. The facts please!

Former HOA President
KellyC8
(Washington)

Posts:2


08/26/2015 7:41 PM  
Point taken, thank you!
GeorgeR8
(Arizona)

Posts:176


08/26/2015 8:32 PM  
You could try talking to them. It works for me most of the time. If that doesn't work go straight to the Violation Letter.

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


08/26/2015 8:52 PM  
Kelly,

We use "friendly reminders" that are printed on post-it style paper with carbon-less copies.

The language is (ref: is the covenant or policy):

A Friendly Reminder
Date: ________
Ref: __________
It has come to the attention of your homeowners association that one or more of the following is in need of your immediate attention:
___ Trash/Recycle Container out too early
___ Trash/Recycle Container out too long
___ Trash/Debris in yard needs cleaned up
___ Lawn needs mowed
___ Trees/Shrubs need trimmed
___ Personal property on lawn needs removed
___ Vehicle improperly Parked
___ Other ___________________
If you have questions concerning this friendly reminder, please contact the Architectural Committee Chair at email:
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8592


08/28/2015 1:13 PM  
Please note, Kelly, that the "options" that Melissa names may not be legal in your state. There might be an exact procedure to follow if your board must go beyond a simple "courtesy" letter. Tim offers a nice start! and I agree that such notices should be in writing so that there is a paper trail.
CyrstalB
(Maryland)

Posts:457


08/29/2015 5:28 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 08/28/2015 1:13 PM
Please note, Kelly, that the "options" that Melissa names may not be legal in your state. There might be an exact procedure to follow if your board must go beyond a simple "courtesy" letter. Tim offers a nice start! and I agree that such notices should be in writing so that there is a paper trail.


Would you explain please how these "options" may not be legal in anyone's state? inquiring minds would like to know because we have always listed the references etc, using exact wording; we list the fines and or consequences; we always give options to resolve it.

Surely there is not state law that says we cannot state the facts and back it up with what our documents say. Instead of dismissing Melissa's advice, why not try something like this?

"Melissa's advice is the proper way of informing your HO's, but you should check your state laws to make sure they do not speak above and beyond your own documents and proceed."




MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10521


08/29/2015 7:45 AM  
I'd like to know what would be "illegal" about quoting from your own HOA documentation? Seems to me everyone is to quote the exact statements the declare it a violation and where to find it in the documentation. That way you can verify they or you have the right version of documentation, they have the documentation, and it is CLEAR in writing that is a rule in the documentation. ALWAYS GO TO YOUR DOCUMENTATION BEFORE QUOTING, APPROVING, OR DECIDING.

Any violation we ever issued, we made sure to quote exactly what the violation is and the steps we are allowed to take. Plus any costs, interests, or legal costs involved if necessary. We could lien for the amount owed if the owner did not fix the issue themselves and we did it. Which is the only area that you may want to verify is allowed. Otherwise, you need to reference a fining schedule if you have one. Simply referencing the HOA has the right to fine fails to define what for, how much, and for how long may not be enough. Fines should be defined otherwise they come out as "Picking on me".

Former HOA President
RichardP13


Posts:0


08/29/2015 8:06 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 08/29/2015 7:45 AM
I'd like to know what would be "illegal" about quoting from your own HOA documentation? Seems to me everyone is to quote the exact statements the declare it a violation and where to find it in the documentation. That way you can verify they or you have the right version of documentation, they have the documentation, and it is CLEAR in writing that is a rule in the documentation. ALWAYS GO TO YOUR DOCUMENTATION BEFORE QUOTING, APPROVING, OR DECIDING.

Any violation we ever issued, we made sure to quote exactly what the violation is and the steps we are allowed to take. Plus any costs, interests, or legal costs involved if necessary. We could lien for the amount owed if the owner did not fix the issue themselves and we did it. Which is the only area that you may want to verify is allowed. Otherwise, you need to reference a fining schedule if you have one. Simply referencing the HOA has the right to fine fails to define what for, how much, and for how long may not be enough. Fines should be defined otherwise they come out as "Picking on me".



What someone was referring to was your reference to placing a lien on a property for fixing a "fine or violation", if they didn't pay. It is not legal in many states and it is may not be legal in the OP's state.
CyrstalB
(Maryland)

Posts:457


08/31/2015 5:38 AM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 08/29/2015 8:06 AM
Posted By MelissaP1 on 08/29/2015 7:45 AM
I'd like to know what would be "illegal" about quoting from your own HOA documentation? Seems to me everyone is to quote the exact statements the declare it a violation and where to find it in the documentation. That way you can verify they or you have the right version of documentation, they have the documentation, and it is CLEAR in writing that is a rule in the documentation. ALWAYS GO TO YOUR DOCUMENTATION BEFORE QUOTING, APPROVING, OR DECIDING.

Any violation we ever issued, we made sure to quote exactly what the violation is and the steps we are allowed to take. Plus any costs, interests, or legal costs involved if necessary. We could lien for the amount owed if the owner did not fix the issue themselves and we did it. Which is the only area that you may want to verify is allowed. Otherwise, you need to reference a fining schedule if you have one. Simply referencing the HOA has the right to fine fails to define what for, how much, and for how long may not be enough. Fines should be defined otherwise they come out as "Picking on me".



What someone was referring to was your reference to placing a lien on a property for fixing a "fine or violation", if they didn't pay. It is not legal in many states and it is may not be legal in the OP's state.


That someone needs help with getting their point across because it was only an attack on the poster which seems to be a pattern in of itself.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8592


08/31/2015 1:06 PM  
I certainly agree with Melissa that citing the exact wording from your HOA's governing documents, Kelly, is very important. This courtesy letter will ask that the violation needs to be cured within X number of days. Or it can say that this initial violation should not be repeated (let's say after hours noisy party in our high rise setting) and if it is, the Owner of the property will be called to hearing and possibly fined.

Where there's variation among states is what happens next if the alleged violation isn't handled or "cured."

In CA and other states too, for instance, not only must there be a published Schedule of Fines, no fines can be levied without the alleged violator being called or invited to a hearing with the Board via a letter specifying the hearing date. Owners have the right to present their side of the story. So, Kelly, it depends on what your own governing documents say and what your state laws say.
LauriceM
(Virginia)

Posts:4


09/04/2015 4:28 PM  
I like TimB4's post-it notes. A gentle reminder at first, then you can move on to something more formal. Right now, our board is going through a rough time. Our president is very dictatorial and tends to slant rules, covants , etc. To his point of view. Our homeowners are starting to rebel. They are actually attending the board meetings and speaking out. Better to try the gentle approach.
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:944


09/05/2015 7:56 AM  
KellyC8
(Wash.) : "a friendly warning letter for common issues . . a sample softer letter."

Respect in every message – including later hardcopy ones that may have to notify of unpleasant compliance measures - is a trail you want to leave.

Post-it notes sealed in an envelope imply respect, but not if possibly posted wide open for the universe to read on a destination front door.

Respectfully a first communication should be verbal, respectful & low key, recognizing that it’s directed at a stakeholder or shareholder. In today’s world that better way may have to be a recorded message, so ‘a smile in your voice’ isn’t a bad idea. A child’s bike left on the lawn doesn’t have to trigger years of enmity; the parent or others in the family should not be turned sour nor the complainants either.

Fragile humans in an imperfect world can get things wrong, including the tone and/or contents you put yourself into that message. ( Worth asking is the message about enforcing voodoo not supported by state law ? ). If it involves common elements, consider that your state law, title & governing documents MAY literally vest ownership not in your corporation but technically in the same stakeholders in common, of which the destination is also a member.





CyrstalB
(Maryland)

Posts:457


09/06/2015 5:19 AM  
Posted By LauriceM on 09/04/2015 4:28 PM
...They are actually attending the board meetings and speaking out. Better to try the gentle approach.


That is really good to hear, the HOA is only as good as it's members allow it to be, so kudos to your neighbors for attending!
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


09/06/2015 6:50 AM  
Posted By KellyC8 on 08/24/2015 8:31 PM
Hello - I am new to the website. Lots of great info out here! Question - I am looking for a friendly warning letter for common issues, like leaving a trailer out in front. Or lawn needs maintenance or bushes are overgrown. I have a pretty formal letter, but would like a sample softer letter.

Thanks! Kelly



Following is an example I just mailed to a homeowner.

Date: September 5, 2015
Re: Courtesy Notice – Camper parked at curb

Dear Homeowner:
Your community is an exceptional place to own a home. As you are aware the Board of Directors wants to keep it that way by enforcing the Covenants. Enforcement is necessary to maintain property values and the quality of your neighborhood.

During an inspection a camper was observed parked at the curb in front of your property (see attached photo). Perhaps it was there temporarily while loading or unloading. This is allowed for up to two days (overnight). Otherwise please comply with the Covenants which state:

D-6 RECREATIONAL VEHICLE STORAGE
The storage of recreational vehicles such as boats, campers, trailers, motor homes, snowmobiles, etc. shall not be permitted within this development unless such storage is totally screened from public view by a solid six (6) foot fence.

If the camper is still parked in view please move it immediately to comply with the Covenants. Contact me if there are extenuating circumstances.

Thank you,


KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8592


09/06/2015 10:36 AM  
Nice example, Roger!
CathrynE
(Virginia)

Posts:2


03/23/2018 5:09 PM  
Tim, that is a fabulous idea. My board has been struggling with polite ways to issue first warnings to homeowners/residents. Can I ask what company you HOA orders them from?

Kathryn (new member of the site and a new HOA President)
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


03/25/2018 3:25 AM  
Cathryn,

I'm currently on vacation. Email me and when I get back, I'll get the info for you.

[email protected]
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


03/25/2018 8:13 AM  
I am some what shocked that a BOD or ACC cannot come up with a simple, polite warning letter.
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