Fees, Penalties, and Increases: Breaking the Bad News to HOA Members

HOA self management software facilitates bad news the best way.
HOA self management software eases the pain of undesirable processes such as fee increases, fines, and violations.

Your self managed HOA will inevitably encounter some unpleasant situations throughout the year. Delivering any kind of undesirable information without careful consideration can increase the tension between the HOA and homeowners.

While each HOA must navigate rule enforcement, penalties, and increases to dues and fees in their own way, there are some best practices to follow to avoid unnecessary conflict with homeowners and help preserve an HOA’s good relations with the community.

HOA self management software helps soften the blow when sending unwelcome news to homeowners. Read on to learn effective ways to utilize it to prevent violations and address them when it happens.

Table of Contents

  1. HOA Self Management Software Facilitates an Informed Community
  2. Create Preventative Communications with HOA Self Management Software
  3. Delivering the Message with Transparency and Clarity with HOA Self Management Software

HOA Self Management Software Facilitates an Informed Community

HOA self management software creates an informed community.
Utilizing HOA self management software with website and newsletter capabilities will empower the community with information.

Most homeowners want to maintain peace and order in their community by following the rules. Penalties and violations are often the result of a simple lack of awareness. Maintaining open access to HOA rules and regulations increases the likelihood that homeowners will be aware of them and, therefore follow them.

Your HOA’s website and newsletter are great resources to keep homeowners abreast of rules and any updates made to them throughout the year. HOA self management software should offer both features to keep your homeowners informed.

Hosting a copy of your HOA’s CC&Rs on the website provides quick access to homeowners and prevents confusion. You can also list your HOA’s most common violations and frequently broken rules to create awareness and mindfulness around them.

You can also use your monthly or quarterly newsletter to highlight a seasonal rule or a frequent violation to prevent any confusion. For example, your newsletter could list the HOA approved guidelines for holiday and lawn décor in its end of-year wrap up newsletter. This way homeowners have a reference as they are decorating their exteriors for Halloween or Christmas.

Ultimately, it is the HOA’s responsibility to clearly state the rules and consequences and have them readily available. A pattern of violations could reveal that the HOA hasn’t made the rules clear enough, or that they’re not working for everyone. Some reflection on the purpose of the rules, or if they’ve been adequately shared, should be considered in this instance.

Create Preventative Communications with HOA Self Management Software

HOA self management software delivers reminders to the community to help prevent violations.
HOA self management software delivers reminders to the community to help prevent violations.

You won’t have to send violation or penalty letters to homeowners if no one breaks the rules. When homeowners move into the neighborhood, they sign tons of paperwork, including the HOA’s rules and their penalties if broken. However, these can be lost in the flurry of move-in or forgotten over time.

A good way to combat this forgetfulness is with regular reminders through multiple channels of communication to each homeowner. With HOA self management software you can schedule texts, emails, or phone calls to send out to the community.

These communications are 100% customizable and can be sent either individually, to specific groups, or to everyone. Any general messages can be saved as templates to be used in the future. Some reminders may be more appropriate for text or email, while others could be important enough for delivery to each homeowner’s mailbox or door.

Emails and texts sent through PayHOA are recorded on the unit’s profile as a record of the communication. This archive serves as a great reference when untangling possible communication snafus. With HOA self management software you can always be confident you have the most up-to-date contact information for each unit.

You can remind homeowners of the HOA’s rules by sending a fresh copy through the mail annually. If you use PayHOA as your HOA self management software, they will handle the majority of the labor for you. Simply upload your letter, and PayHOA will take care of printing, stuffing, adding stamps, and dropping off the letters to the post office.

Delivering the Message with Transparency and Clarity with HOA Self Management Software

HOA self management software helps deliver bad news the best way.
HOA self management software helps deliver bad news the best way.

In spite of your best efforts to provide informational resources to the community, rules will always be broken and unfortunate news will have to be delivered. However, consider best practices when breaking the news. Navigating the conversation with confidence and transparency will ensure it comes across the best way to prevent animosity.

HOA self management software creates distance between HOA volunteers and the inevitable unwelcome messages they sometimes have to deliver that call for that distance.. A professional letter or email can depersonalize the communication and prevent the homeowner from feeling attacked. It also offers a chance for the HOA to carefully gather its thoughts and concisely write about the issue.  

In PayHOA all communications are 100% customizable, so when you issue a violation through the system you can control the messaging, timing, and appearance of the letter. Even if you use a template, you can adjust the message for each individual violation should you choose.

There are many strategies for writing these types of messages. Tone and diction are incredibly important to consider as you craft your violation templates. Overly personal and emotional messaging should be avoided, as everyone makes mistakes. How you send out the messages will affect how the homeowners receive them.

Sharing the reasoning for decisions is important. If an HOA decides to increase homeowner dues, for example, it should provide a detailed rationale for how the increased dues will be used to benefit the community. This transparency will create understanding with the homeowners rather than generating anger over the higher fees.  

It’s absolutely crucial for an HOA to maintain good relations with the homeowners in its community. Careful and consistent messaging before and after a violation has occurred goes a long way toward helping the HOA avoid homeowner resentment.

Most HOA volunteers would much rather deliver good news, but sometimes a homeowner breaks the rules and has to be notified. HOA self management software can relieve stress by automating many common administrative tasks, and it can de-personalize negative communications to help HOA volunteers feel less like the neighborhood bad guy.

PayHOA offers an HOA management software solution for HOAs of any size or managerial priorities. To find out if PayHOA fits all your HOA management needs, try our software free for 30 days. 

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