Can I Cite My Homeowners Association for Violations of the Deed Restrictions?
Every week, a representative from my homeowners’ association drives through my neighborhood in an unmarked car noting violations of the neighborhood deed restrictions both large and small. Forget to mow your yard, put up a swing set without asking, leave a car parked for too long and you can expect to get a less than friendly letter telling you to fix it or face liens and lawyers. While residents have agreed to the restrictions and should abide by them, I have seen many neighborhoods where the association itself is not abiding by the rules that are equally applicable to common areas. For example, I was showing homes in a nice neighborhood the other day, but the common areas were totally overgrown with clover. If a resident had a yard that looked like the common area, he would definitely receive a citation for it.
When common areas are not held to the same high standards as the homes in a neighborhood, home values can decline.
This raises the question of what power homeowners have over the association in enforcing a neighborhood’s deed restrictions. I suppose this is different by neighborhood, but in general I think the answer is “very little.” Homeowners obviously can’t file a lien or seek a judgment, and it is pretty pointless to wait until the annual meeting to have your voice drowned out by neighborhood busybodies. I guess my best advice is to send your share of letters to the association and hope they address the problem.
If anyone else has any ideas or has dealt with this problem in the past, I would love to hear about it!!