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My HOA does not apply the rules impartially across all neighbors, what are my rights?

Herndon, VA |

One or more HOA members have taken a special 'liking' to me for some petty issue (a short coming in their own personality). I am written up for violations on my SFH that may be valid but I do not question it. I fix them within the time frame given to me to avoid the monetary fine. I do not fight back, argue or make up excuses. Simply, I comply. (I think this is my biggest fault.)

For most of the violations that I have been written up for, I notice other neighbors with the same issue but they never correct it; it has been like that for years. I assume they were never citied. Why am I being singled out? How can I fight back legally?

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Attorney answers 2


I don't know why you are being singled out regarding these violations. From you question, it sounds as though you agree that there are violations but feel like others are also in violation and not being written up.

In most HOAs the duty to inspect and send notices out is a duty assigned to other, volunteer homeowners or is performed by a manager, which is supervised by the Board or a committee. If you are in violation, then it would be difficult to fight the violation notices. If you think the violations are unreasonable, then you may be able to argue that the rules have been ignored for so long that they are no longer applicable, but that is extremely difficult to prove and would be expensive.

My suggestion is to find someone on the Board who seems like a person you can communicate with and have a conversation with them. If this problem stems from the manager, then the Board should be made aware of your complaints. If this issue is something that requires more widespread enforcement, then you need to communicate with the Board and the management company.

Mark Westerfield
Practicing in Northern Virginia and DC


Document everything, taking photographs of other apparent violations of the covenants that are not being enforced, be fair but complete. Most important would be the homes of Board members, the rules apply to all in the Association.. Covenants Enforcement is a horrible job, but if its being done unfairly, that is wrong. Request copies of the enforcement actions on the items. Read your Association documents, bylaws and minutes of meetings. Get informed. When you have the full picture of the HOA operations, RUN FOR THE BOARD. Makes changes from within.

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