I wanted to see if anybody can provide some input or advise on how to deal with HOA violation. Thank you in advance.
I bought a rental property (single house) about 1 year ago. It was rented out without problem. But, I received a notice of outstanding weed violation on my property by email when I happened to ask HOA about something else. I would not have know about the violation if I had not inquire about other item. HOA sent letters to the rental property with my name. My tenant did not notify me of these letters until HOA sent a certified letter. My tenant notified me of the certified letter late and by the time I went to pick up the certified letter it was already returned to sender. By this time, HOA started to fine $25 per day for weed violation and the total was $875. I contacted HOA immediately and told them it will addressed right away and no further fine was imposed. I found out the HOA didn't have my contact info. I thought HOA had my contact info since my other rental property HOAs were given my info at the timing of closing. When I inquired about the HOA rules on fine. HOA told me the board can decide to charge any money for violations.
I contacted HOA to see if there is any way to work out the violation since I didn't know about the violation. But, HOA will not budge. Any chance I can fight this at small claims court? or other recommendations?
Just pay it and move forward. Unfortunately your tenant screwed you and there is not much you can do about it.
My advice.......don't poke the bear.
All the answers you seek are in your HOA docs that you should probably review.....
Yep, it is your responsibility to make sure the HOA has your address if different than the property, same as for taxing authorities, etc.
Thank you for your input.
I am willing to pay and make this a learning lesson.
I do have one question about the HOA.
Can HOA determine random fine amount ($25/day of violation)?
When I asked HOA about the HOA declaration and where to find fine schedule. HOA told me the board can determine at their will.
HOAs have a LOT of power. Your bylaws should outline exactly what. Read those. If they don't give this power, you might be able to push back.
My lease states the tenant would be responsible for a fine like this. I have one property where the city is quite aggressive about this sort of thing. They don't have a daily fine, but will do mitigation if the problem isn't fixed. My lease specifically addresses and puts the responsibility on the tenant. At move in, I discuss this with the tenant and make sure they are aware of their responsibilities. The city does send warning letters to both me and the property. When one of those come (seems like every tenant has to test this), we have another discussion.
One more question.
Can HOA report to credit agency? and send the outstanding fine to collection agency?
Do HOA have to inform the property owner before reporting to credit agency or collection agency?
If the fines are spelled out in the governing documents, you will not be able to win in court.
I'm curious as to how you were paying your dues. If you have ANY piece of mail from the HOA that has your correct address on it, then them sending a notice to the property would be incorrect and you might be able to fight them on that.
Also, check with your property tax assessor. If they have your correct address, then that means it was all over the title work and the HOA should have had it too. If the tax assessor has the wrong address, then you'll need to change it.
But if they have the right address, then contact the title company and ask them for copies of the documents that were sent to the HOA. If you can see that the address is your correct address, then take it up with the management company and let them know that they set up your account incorrectly, that they had the correct address up front and fight it from that perspective. At that point, you have a much better chance of winning in court. Improper notice is a big deal.
The HOA probably does have a responsibility to notify you, but not having the correct contact information probably negates that. Its likely the owner has the responsibility to be sure the HOA has the correct contact info.
IDK if they will report it to a credit reporting agency or file for collections. However, HOAs can (and do) place liens on your property and can foreclose if you don't pay.
I doubt the HOA started fining you on the first day this problem was noticed. You write "By this time, HOA started to fine $25 per day". $875 is 35 days of fines, so this situation existed for weeks or months. The HOA did not have your contact info. From their perspective you seem like a bad landlord that is letting a bad situation persist with no action. I'm not one to defend HOAs, but I can see their perspective in this situation.
What does your lease say? Is your tenant responsible for lawn maintenance? If the tenant is responsible, got the letters, and ignored them, I think the tenant is the one I'd be upset with.
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