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Penalties for violating Home Owner Association (HOA) rules can include fines, legal costs, and even liens against the property. To protect themselves, homeowners must understand the HOA’s regulations and their obligation to comply with them. 

Take HOA Violations Seriously

HOAs in Illinois are regulated by law, which grants them the right to establish rules to protect home values, the community’s quality of life, and to assess fees to provide services. Penalties for violations can include a simple order to comply with the rule. Egregious or persistent violations may result in fines and property liens. In all cases, a notice from an HOA that a homeowner is in violation should be taken seriously.

Types of HOA Violations

Sometimes, homeowners may not know a problem exists until they receive an official notice of violation. Many violations can be resolved quickly by bringing the property into compliance. Examples of rules violations include:

  • Too many vehicles on a property or the wrong type of vehicle. Some HOAs limit the number or types of vehicles allowed on a property. Boats, RVs, and commercial vehicles may not be permitted.
  • A change to the exterior design of a house may be a violation. This can include structural modifications like additions to the structure as well as aesthetic changes, paint colors, and landscape design elements.
  • Allowing pets to roam or not cleaning up after a pet is discourteous to other homeowners and is often a violation of the rules.
  • Improperly displayed holiday decorations, including the extent of the decorations and when they are displayed.
  • Storing equipment, tools, and vehicles insight on the property.
  • Noise and visual disturbances that detract from the quality of life in the community.

While most of these violations are easily corrected, it’s always best to understand the rules beforehand and avoid the hassle of getting served notice, having to appear before the board, or in some cases, paying a fine.

Never Ignore a Violation Notice

Homeowners should never ignore a notice that they are in violation of HOA rules. Instead, they should confirm that a violation exists and take steps to correct the issue. Often, a friendly conversation with the association’s management can defuse the situation and help resolve the problem.

As long as they comply with the law, HOAs have considerable latitude in resolving violations. Homeowners who understand the rules they have accepted are far less likely to encounter problems related to violations.