In most HOA communities, there are clear architecture guidelines in place, clarifying what homeowners are and are not allowed to do in terms of their home renovations. For example, architecture guidelines might specify approved exterior paint colors; they may also offer restrictions for home additions, fences, and secondary structures. These guidelines exist to ensure houses in the HOA all conform to some basic aesthetic principles—but what happens when an owner runs afoul of these guidelines? In a new statement to the press, Kuester Management Group offers some tips.
“Before any big home project, owners should fill out an application for the architecture review committee,” comments Bryan Kuester, President of Kuester Management Group. “The ARC will then review and sign off on the project. Problems arise when the owner makes changes without filling out an application—or, ignores the feedback given by the ARC.”
HOA Board members should respond first by going straight to the source. “Talk to the owner and make them aware of the issue,” Kuester says. “Often, there’s just a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication you need to clear up, and an amicable solution can be talked out.”
If that doesn’t work, though, it’s important for the HOA to send a more formalized communication. “Send a letter explaining exactly which rule as broken, and what action needs to be taken to make things right,” Kuester suggests. “Document everything.”
If these more formalized letters don’t work, the next step is to send a fine letter. “When people break the rules, and friendly corrections don’t work, you may be left with little option but to send a violation notice and a fine,” Kuester comments.
Even more extreme measures include Board hearings and potential lawsuits—but most of the time, the situation can be resolved long before this.
“Most owners are happy to comply with the guidelines, and simply keeping the lines of communication open can keep you out of these sticky spots,” Kuester concludes.
More information about the HOA management services offered by Kuester Management Group can be found online at www.kuester.com.
Kuester Management Group, a division of Kuester Companies, works to protect property values and enhance the quality of life in each of its managed communities. Providing a full range of association management services, Kuester Management Group has worked to foster strong, resilient, and unified communities across North and South Carolina. The company is proud to offer on-site property managers, all zealous for building strong communities meant to stand the test of time. Other key services include document keeping, financial oversight, and other critical back-end functions. More information is available at www.kuester.com or @KuesterCompany.