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Community Inspections Part Four: The Dreaded Violation Letter

Well, here we are; we made it to the final segment in our community inspection series: violation letters. A necessary evil, or unnecessarily evil?  I’m sure we all know someone with strong opinions on violation letters.  So, let’s pull back the curtain together, and take a closer look at the violation letters that sometimes find their way to your doorstep.

At its core, you should think of a violation letter as a gentle, but firm reminder to follow community rules and regulations.  It also kicks off the procedure which ultimately provides due process for homeowners who do find themselves in violation.

There are essentially three types of violations: behavioral (noise, parking, rental, pet, etc.) architectural, and exterior maintenance.  The type or violation often plays a role in the amount of time a homeowner has to resolve it.  For example, forty-eight hours is usually a reasonable amount of time to properly store a trashcan; whereas, a repair that requires a contractor will often be given at least 21-30 days. 

Before we go any further, I just want clarify that we managers do not enjoy writing violation letters.  Violation letters are stressful and time consuming.  Governing documents can vary dramatically from Association to Association, and portfolio managers oversee anywhere from 8 to a baker’s dozen - possibly more.  That’s a lot of rules, and street names, and mailbox restrictions, and architectural modification guidelines to keep track of.  Which is why the majority of association managers rely on a generic violation letter template, that we modify with community specific information. 

It is also important to understand that these letters are not meant to be punitive, intimidating, or offensive.  If you receive a violation letter, and it contains language such as: “unclean or unkempt conditions,” or “noxious activity” the manager did not select that descriptor– it likely came directly from your Association’s Declaration.  I promise that we are not trying to insult you with these letters.  Our goal is to effectively and efficiently communicate to you an observed violation, and provide guidance on how to fix it in a way that is clear and concise, not abrasive.

Managers appreciate that the majority of our homeowners and residents value and abide by their community’s rules and regulations.  But we also understand that life gets busy, and oversights happen.  So, while it's essential to enforce association rules consistently, it's equally important to approach violations with empathy and understanding.  That is why we encourage homeowners to reach out if they have questions or concerns about the violation, and why we work closely with the homeowner and the Board to find a resolution. By fostering a spirit of cooperation, we aim to achieve compliance while preserving positive relationships within the community.

If you receive a violation letter, and need more time to resolve the violation, please send your manager an email.  We can relay this information back to the Board, and can often provide extensions, or offer helpful suggestions on next steps.  It is important to note that state statute does play a significant role in the violation process, so you should also familiarize yourself with the Condo and Property owner acts as well.

Ultimately, the importance of the violation process lies in cultivating a culture of collaboration and accountability.  As homeowners, you play a vital role in the stewardship of your community. By embracing inspections and yes, daresay it, those damn violation notices, as a collective responsibility, you demonstrate your commitment to preserving property values and ensuring that your neighborhood remains a source of pride and joy for all.

We appreciate your commitment and dedication to your neighborhood!

Join us next month as we explore the various types of association meetings and how can owners participate.


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