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Subject: Commercial Vehicle Violation Banners
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NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/27/2021 4:26 PM  
Our Docs don't allow commercial vehicles.

While it's difficult to distinguish sometimes between personal and commercial, we chose to focus on two things - signage & ladder racks. These 2 things are only allowed with a waiver from the Board, and there are strict requirements to get that waiver.

Our problem is that we have a blatant abuser. There was a time when he was moderately compliant, but now his truck is out there overnight on a daily basis without removing his signs and often leaving construction materials on top of his truck.

He likes to flaunt the fact that he doesn't have to put up with HOA rules.

Importantly, his house is at one of our 2 entrances, so his commercial vehicle stands out like a sore thumb.

We know from past experience that he won't pay any fines. We have no amenities to suspend, and we are not interested in liens that take a change in ownership or threat of foreclosure to collect on.

Our concern is more about others than it is about him anyway. Other owners/residents see what he's doing, and think - if he can do it, I should be able to too. So here and there, a company truck starts showing up in our parking spaces. Not often. But enough to trend things the wrong way.

So here's what we're thinking now. Start fining him in according with our fining policy. But also put a sticker on his windows similar to what the authorities do for an Abandoned vehicle. Different wording of course.

Just wondering if anyone has considered or implemented a sticker on the windshield approach. Does anyone see any potential problems? Other recommendations?

Note that we would take the identical approach with any violator. But in our opinion, as soon as any others start seeing violation stickers on his vehicle, they will understand that we are serious. Without it, we're SOL.

Thanks.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8015


03/27/2021 7:02 PM  
That's a tough one.

But your violation sticker sounds like a good idea. It shows he's a jerk and also can deter others from becoming non-compliant.

I don't know how residents enter your premises. If using a fob from their car, perhaps disabling it and forcing him to get in and out of his car every time he drives through your entrance might annoy him enough to follow you rules.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:180


03/28/2021 6:35 AM  
Nps, at which violation will the Board begin to do their job? How blatant must a violation be? This owner is challenging the Board to see if the Board will do their job! If the present Board and future Boards do not do their job of holding owners to the Rules and Regulations or the governing documents gradually there will be an erosion of community.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:790


03/28/2021 7:10 AM  
NpS,
Sounds like you may be on to something with the sticker thing. I am imagining a very sticky not that does not just peel off similar to the ones Law Enforcement does with cars left on the roadway. They usually put them on the driver side window. Not sure if that is a rule or just so they get noticed. My first thought was to put it on the front wind shield so it would delay him leaving every morning having to remove this notice. The biggest problem I see is who gets to put it on his vehicle? If the board does not want to escalate the situation I doubt they are going to volunteer to be the bad guy and put the notices on the vehicle.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10944


03/28/2021 10:18 AM  
NPS
Where is the violator parking? If not on his property have you considered towing?
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:209


03/28/2021 11:05 AM  
So, apparently, you do allow commercial vehicles and you do allow for commercial vehicles with signage and ladders, with a waiver, So what is the requirement to obtain a waiver and why wouldn't this person qualify, because they aren't on the board, or maybe they are too close to the front entrances.

Most HOA's in the US don't allow commercial vehicles. That is just boilerplate language put in decades ago. My criteria would be if this person is paying their assessments. Coming out of this pandemic, I think we're c=going to more shifts in our how our economy works. HOA's have to adapt along the way.

LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1160


03/28/2021 12:40 PM  
How does your declaration documents define commercial vehicles in the glossary of terms? How does it differ from the way the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania defines commercial vehicles? Sounds like a grey ambiguous definition in your covenants. If it is unsightliness you are going after,, go that route. If the guy is parking the vehicle in his driveway and you put a sticker on the vehicle, you may be committing a criminal act.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/28/2021 4:28 PM  
Great comments. Thanks everyone.

Kerry - We are not gated. No amenities. No fobs.

Michael - My expectation is that violation banners will not be placed on vehicles for a first violation. Number of passes a resident gets before banner is applied to be determined. Whatever number that it, for sure it will be standardized.

We are in a strange position where, for the last 5 years or so, we only fined a few households, and all were for chronic violations. All of the fining decisions were initiated by homeowner complaints - not by HOA inspections. As a self-managed HOA with no employees, we did not want to reinforce the negative stereotype of Board members as people who desire to assert power over their neighbors.

Mark - We realized that we needed to nudge the enforcement pendulum in the other direction, but not that much, because we don't want to lose the goodwill we built by our policy of minimal Board intrusiveness. In our 2021 annual survey, 85% of owners are happy with our current level of enforcement, 13% think we don't enforce enough, and 12% think we enforce too much. We're very happy with that balance. We'll see if things change in the 2022 survey.

When we decided to step up enforcement, we hired an experienced individual, paid hourly, who will perform inspections, communicate directly with owners, and will be authorized by the Board to enforce HOA guidelines on HOA rule violations. Board members will not communicate directly with owners (except in the event of an appeal from the decisions of our independent contractor).

Our independent contractor will place the banners. We are currently in a heavy debate over how sticky the banners should be. Some want it to be difficult to remove the glue from the banners. Others don't.

John - Many of violations involve vehicles parked on HOA-owned streets. We don't know anything about towing. Some are afraid of potential damage to vehicles and price gouging by towing company. Word of a bad incident would spread like wildfire. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can talk from experience about towing. Also, wondering if any towing companies do booting as an alternative to towing.

Max - My description wasn't too clear. Our definition of commercial vehicles in our docs is more than what I provided. The point that I was trying to make is that there are two areas - ladder racks and commercial signage - that (1) are in our docs, and (2) are universally recognized as commercial. So we focus on those 2 things. Signs and ladder racks.

Also note that the waivers came about as a means of grandfathering households that got away with no enforcement from prior Boards. The waivers are narrowly designed to severely limit parking of vehicles with ladder racks or commercial signs on the basis of (1) appearance, (2) location, and (3) proximity to points of entry into the community.

As we see things, you can no longer call an F-150 commercial just because it's a truck, so we stay away from the gray areas. I believe that most HOAs have or should have made the shift.

Let - See comments to Max. Also, you raise an interesting point about putting stickers on vehicles on driveways. I'm sure we will have an lively discussion about it.

PA regulations tend to be HOA friendly, except in the area of personal protections under ADA and comparable statutes.

Thanks again. Would appreciate further thoughts.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/28/2021 4:31 PM  
Correction - remove the glue from the glass - not remove the glue from the banners

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/28/2021 5:15 PM  
Another correction - This time survey percentages.

85% happy with current level of enforcement. 8% say not enough enforcement. 7% say too much.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:616


03/28/2021 5:20 PM  
Putting sticky stuff on cars is vandalism, yes?

Do your governing documents authorize putting sticky stuff on cars?
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/28/2021 6:36 PM  
Posted By JeffT2 on 03/28/2021 5:20 PM
Putting sticky stuff on cars is vandalism, yes?

Do your governing documents authorize putting sticky stuff on cars?



Interesting question Jeff.

The Board did discuss placing something under wipers, but decided against it because of potential damage to wipers or claims of damage to wipers.

Would messing with wipers constitute vandalism? I don't know.

Certainly, there is less risk of damage to a vehicle if we use sticky banners rather than notices under windshields.

And we do need some means of putting something on the glass that will survive being out in the elements.

No, there is no specific authority for sticky stuff. Do you think our docs need to be that specific?

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:872


03/28/2021 6:53 PM  
I don't know the law in your state but my guess is it is illegal to place a sticker on someone's vehicle without permission. There may not be a specific law but it could fall under vandalism or vehicle tampering. The police can do it with abandoned vehicles because they have a law authorizing it.

Even if it is not illegal, I think it's a terrible idea to touch anyone's property unless you have some legal authority.

I don't understand why you would be against placing a lien for fines. Yes, he can snub his nose at you until he wants a second mortgage or wants to sell, then the jokes on him.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:872


03/28/2021 6:58 PM  
Posted By NpS on 03/28/2021 6:36 PM
Posted By JeffT2 on 03/28/2021 5:20 PM
Putting sticky stuff on cars is vandalism, yes?

Do your governing documents authorize putting sticky stuff on cars?



Interesting question Jeff.

The Board did discuss placing something under wipers, but decided against it because of potential damage to wipers or claims of damage to wipers.

Would messing with wipers constitute vandalism? I don't know.

Certainly, there is less risk of damage to a vehicle if we use sticky banners rather than notices under windshields.

And we do need some means of putting something on the glass that will survive being out in the elements.

No, there is no specific authority for sticky stuff. Do you think our docs need to be that specific?



Vandalism in most states does necessarily require traditional damage. If someone spray paints your windshield there is no more damage than a sticker (requires scraping off) but I'm sure it would be considered vandalism in all states.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/28/2021 7:16 PM  
Thanks Ben.

PA's vandalism statute is covered under criminal mischief.
Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 3304. Criminal mischief.
(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:
(1) damages tangible property of another intentionally, recklessly, or by negligence in the employment of fire, explosives, or other dangerous means ...;
(2) intentionally or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property;
(3) intentionally or recklessly causes another to suffer pecuniary loss by deception or threat;
(4) intentionally defaces or otherwise damages tangible public property or tangible property of another with graffiti by use of any aerosol spray-paint can, broad-tipped indelible marker or similar marking device;
(5) intentionally damages real or personal property of another;  or
(6) intentionally defaces personal, private or public property by discharging a paintball gun or paintball marker at that property.

What do you think?

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10944


03/29/2021 9:03 AM  
Posted By NpS on 03/28/2021 7:16 PM
Thanks Ben.

PA's vandalism statute is covered under criminal mischief.
Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 3304. Criminal mischief.
(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:
(1) damages tangible property of another intentionally, recklessly, or by negligence in the employment of fire, explosives, or other dangerous means ...;
(2) intentionally or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property;
(3) intentionally or recklessly causes another to suffer pecuniary loss by deception or threat;
(4) intentionally defaces or otherwise damages tangible public property or tangible property of another with graffiti by use of any aerosol spray-paint can, broad-tipped indelible marker or similar marking device;
(5) intentionally damages real or personal property of another;  or
(6) intentionally defaces personal, private or public property by discharging a paintball gun or paintball marker at that property.

What do you think?



I say sticky sticker away.
ND
(PA)

Posts:591


03/29/2021 10:09 AM  
Assuming your documents permit it, your fining process could/should include a step of ultimately engaging your HOA lawyer and proceeding with a lawsuit to collect monies owed. Further, legal fees would be chargeable back to the offending homeowner. Your threats and fines may not hurt the homeowner; but legal fees, court costs, and time spent having to fight the HOA in court will hopefully help force compliance.

I say forget the whole sticker idea. Adjust your fine process; ensure "punishment" escalates with continues and repeat offenses of the same violation; publish it to the community so all are aware and have a chance to fall into compliance; and then follow the process exactly as you have laid out. Most people will understand that you mean business. The repeat offenders will push the limits once or twice and be forced to pay severely for their decisions to continue ignoring the rules.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/29/2021 10:25 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 03/29/2021 9:03 AM
I say sticky sticker away.


I agree John.

3 options will be discussed at the next meeting: 1. stickers; 2. notices placed under windshield wiper; 3. nothing place on vehicle.

Will let you know which gets chosen.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/29/2021 10:42 AM  
Posted By ND on 03/29/2021 10:09 AM
Assuming your documents permit it, your fining process could/should include a step of ultimately engaging your HOA lawyer and proceeding with a lawsuit to collect monies owed. Further, legal fees would be chargeable back to the offending homeowner. Your threats and fines may not hurt the homeowner; but legal fees, court costs, and time spent having to fight the HOA in court will hopefully help force compliance.

I say forget the whole sticker idea. Adjust your fine process; ensure "punishment" escalates with continues and repeat offenses of the same violation; publish it to the community so all are aware and have a chance to fall into compliance; and then follow the process exactly as you have laid out. Most people will understand that you mean business. The repeat offenders will push the limits once or twice and be forced to pay severely for their decisions to continue ignoring the rules.



Thanks ND.

Yes we have the right and obligation to charge back legal fees.

If the threat of being charged with HOA legal costs would influence the chronic violator, we might consider it. But from past experience, we know that he won't flinch. And he won't pay any fees relating to parking violations.

It's sad that a few people (less than 5%) refuse to accept the authority of the HOA no matter what action the Board takes or what notice is given. No matter if the notice is to the entire community or just to the violator.

In general, most of our owners just want to go along to get along.

More aggressive enforcement will start soon. Board members have mixed opinions on how aggressive. I have no idea how this will turn out, but I appreciate your input.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
ND
(PA)

Posts:591


03/29/2021 10:56 AM  
Posted By NpS on 03/29/2021 10:42 AM
Posted By ND on 03/29/2021 10:09 AM
Assuming your documents permit it, your fining process could/should include a step of ultimately engaging your HOA lawyer and proceeding with a lawsuit to collect monies owed. Further, legal fees would be chargeable back to the offending homeowner. Your threats and fines may not hurt the homeowner; but legal fees, court costs, and time spent having to fight the HOA in court will hopefully help force compliance.

I say forget the whole sticker idea. Adjust your fine process; ensure "punishment" escalates with continues and repeat offenses of the same violation; publish it to the community so all are aware and have a chance to fall into compliance; and then follow the process exactly as you have laid out. Most people will understand that you mean business. The repeat offenders will push the limits once or twice and be forced to pay severely for their decisions to continue ignoring the rules.



Thanks ND.

Yes we have the right and obligation to charge back legal fees.

If the threat of being charged with HOA legal costs would influence the chronic violator, we might consider it. But from past experience, we know that he won't flinch. And he won't pay any fees relating to parking violations.

It's sad that a few people (less than 5%) refuse to accept the authority of the HOA no matter what action the Board takes or what notice is given. No matter if the notice is to the entire community or just to the violator.

In general, most of our owners just want to go along to get along.

More aggressive enforcement will start soon. Board members have mixed opinions on how aggressive. I have no idea how this will turn out, but I appreciate your input.



I'm not suggesting making empty threats . . . instead, I'm saying you need to create a process whereby at a certain point, the automatic next step is engaging your HOA lawyer to begin legal action against the homeowner to collect the fine monies owed. Engaging the lawyer WILL result in legal fees that WILL also become money owed by the violator. Ignoring letters from the lawyer and money owed WILL result in a lawsuit that WILL result in court costs, time in court, and (if the HOA's case is as cut and dry as it should be) result in a judgment in favor of the HOA. Violator will owe all fines, interest, lawyer fees, and court costs. They'll do that once, realize they can't win, and start complying . . . unless they have money to burn and simply don't care.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/29/2021 11:22 AM  
Posted By ND on 03/29/2021 10:56 AM
I'm not suggesting making empty threats . . . instead, I'm saying you need to create a process whereby at a certain point, the automatic next step is engaging your HOA lawyer to begin legal action against the homeowner to collect the fine monies owed. Engaging the lawyer WILL result in legal fees that WILL also become money owed by the violator. Ignoring letters from the lawyer and money owed WILL result in a lawsuit that WILL result in court costs, time in court, and (if the HOA's case is as cut and dry as it should be) result in a judgment in favor of the HOA. Violator will owe all fines, interest, lawyer fees, and court costs. They'll do that once, realize they can't win, and start complying . . . unless they have money to burn and simply don't care.


I get your point.

But the truth is that suing to collect fines is a horrible way to get compliance.

If, like Kerry said, we had fobs that the Board could electronically alter to restrict access, that would be preferable. Largely because the impact on an offender can be turned on and off like a light switch. Immediate effect.

Courts do not have an immediate effect lane. Everything going through the courts is a slow walk that leaves things hanging for a long long time.

I can tell you this. One of our Board members is afraid that the chronic violator is going to come banging on her door. From past experience, that's a realistic fear. He banged on my door when I was on the Board. Sure she can call the police on him, but is that something she wants to do? I don't think so.

There is no shortcut that gets you to a judicial win right away. And in the interim, things can get very nasty on a personal level. I wish there was a better way to avoid it.


Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10944


03/29/2021 1:19 PM  
Until the threat of legal action pending or happening most will ignore letters/fines from the BOD. You need to bite them to get them to pay attention.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8015


03/29/2021 1:59 PM  
True, JohnC, in NpS case. But our HOA and many others have amenity access we can withhold if fines aren't paid and/or for repeat violations. So there are perhaps plenty of exceptions when compliance is gained without legal action.

Our ability to withhold privileges is in our CC&Rs & Rules & Regs.

I think your HOA, JohnC, has no privileges to withhold as with NpS's HOA.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10944


03/29/2021 2:03 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 03/29/2021 1:59 PM
True, JohnC, in NpS case. But our HOA and many others have amenity access we can withhold if fines aren't paid and/or for repeat violations. So there are perhaps plenty of exceptions when compliance is gained without legal action.

Our ability to withhold privileges is in our CC&Rs & Rules & Regs.

I think your HOA, JohnC, has no privileges to withhold as with NpS's HOA.



We can lien based on fines. That gets their attention.
MikeB23
(Louisiana)

Posts:30


03/29/2021 3:34 PM  
Fine the individual then file the lien. Just because you file the lien it doesn't mean you have to move forward. Does the individual have a mortgage on the property? If so make sure they know of the lien. We have had the mortgage holder pay fines to get liens removed and I have a friend in another city who filed a lien to get dues paid. No other action was necessary as the person paid once the lien was filed.
JohnM63
(North Carolina)

Posts:17


03/29/2021 7:54 PM  
If, as you say, this violator will scoff at having a legal lien placed against his property, do you really believe placing stickers on his truck is going to discourage his violation activities? I don't.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/29/2021 7:55 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 03/29/2021 2:03 PM
We can lien based on fines. That gets their attention.

In PA, which is what matters in this conversation, an HOA lien is automatic - No filing of a lien is required.

That's not the case in other states. Maybe somewhere else a filing is required to publicly secure the debt, maybe that get's someone's attention - But here in PA, that's not the case. No filing. No service of process. No nothing.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/29/2021 7:59 PM  
Posted By MikeB23 on 03/29/2021 3:34 PM
Fine the individual then file the lien. Just because you file the lien it doesn't mean you have to move forward. Does the individual have a mortgage on the property? If so make sure they know of the lien. We have had the mortgage holder pay fines to get liens removed and I have a friend in another city who filed a lien to get dues paid. No other action was necessary as the person paid once the lien was filed.

All I can say Mike is that it doesn't work the same in PA as it does in LA. Here, mortgage companies might get involved if we initiated a judicial foreclosure, but we would never foreclose over unpaid fines.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4170


03/29/2021 8:11 PM  
Posted By JohnM63 on 03/29/2021 7:54 PM
If, as you say, this violator will scoff at having a legal lien placed against his property, do you really believe placing stickers on his truck is going to discourage his violation activities? I don't.


You may be right John. I have no idea how this is going to turn out. What I do know is that, if we don't take a different course of action than in the past, the harder it's going to be in the future to enforce parking violations.

This is a big deal for us. My Board could wind up waffling on any enforcement efforts. I have no way of guessing how far they are willing to go.

I'm not sure that disregard for a lien equates to disregard for a sticker. He is a very proud man. Washes his vehicles at least 3 times a week. My personal belief is that his objection to the sticker will far exceed his objection to the lien. But who knows.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
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