Let’s assume for a minute that every resident in your HOA follows all the rules, never causes a problem, brings you warm chocolate chip cookies and is basically a ray of sunshine that makes your world a happier place.

Then your alarm goes off and it’s time to join the real world of an HOA board member.

Not everybody loves your HOA landscaping policies. Some think they should be able to plant whatever they want, go an extra week between mowings or spread some crazy colored mulch out front.

How do you enforce your HOA rules and regulations without being a jerk?

Check out these suggestions:

Make Sure Everybody Knows the CC&Rs

Every HOA has governing documents, also known as CC&Rs (covenants, conditions & restrictions) that say what you can and can’t do to your home.

But do all residents read them? They don’t.

HOA entrance sign with flowers and ornamental grasses

Issue a friendly reminder: “Hey, everybody, a rainy Sunday is a great time to curl up with those CC&Rs!”

Residents might be breaking your HOA landscaping policies because they honestly don’t know all the rules.

Have a Friendly Conversation

Chat with the offending resident to let them know that weird landscaping project they have going on isn’t cool. Or allowed. That’s your first friendly step.

Maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll say, “Yikes, sorry, I didn’t realize.” Then later they’ll bring you warm chocolate chip cookies.

Next Up: A Written Warning

Still no action? Send a written warning that outlines the HOA landscaping policy violations, including a reasonable deadline for correcting the problem. Be sure to include what will happen, including fines and possible legal action, if they don’t comply. If they comply, problem solved!

Time for an HOA Fine

If the homeowner ignores your written warning about breaking the HOA landscaping guidelines, it’s time for fines.

entrance to HOA with flowers and bushes

Impose a fine for each day the homeowner doesn’t fix the rule-breaking problem.

If the fines keep building, the HOA has the right to put a lien on their home until they pay the total of the fines along with any legal costs incurred.

The Law is on Your Side

HOA rules and regulations are legally binding. The contents of your HOA governing documents are typically tied to state statutory laws. These laws are often incorporated into HOA CC&Rs and ultimately provide legal protections to the HOA.

Remember Why You Have These Rules

Yes, being The Enforcer can be unpleasant. But remember why you have these HOA rules and regulations in the first place: to have a pleasant, safe, and attractive neighborhood, to protect resale value, to maintain a sense of community.

Need Help with HOA Landscaping? Trust Level Green

If you could use a hand explaining what landscaping services are handled by your landscaping company and what tasks homeowners tackle, we’re happy to help.

We attend as many of our customers’ HOA board meetings as possible to answer residents’ questions, explain what things we’re responsible for there, and make sure they know who to contact if they have questions.

It’s a chance for us to field questions from board members and sometimes residents, and to give seasonal updates on our work.

Good communication makes everything easier.

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

Request a Consultation