Are fines imposed by a home owners association HOA board enforceable, especially if the violations are for actions by my tenants?

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Are fines imposed by a home owners association HOA board enforceable, especially if the violations are for actions by my tenants?

I own condo but I don’t live in it. I rent out rooms to students at a nearby college. Recently, I was notified by the HOA’s manager that my tenants have been breaking HOA rules and regulations. They are accused of having loud parties and being a nuisance to the other homeowners in the complex. The HOA board has been imposing fines on me whenever these tenants break a rule. I need to determine my rights, and what my legal obligations are with regards to the HOA rules and regulations. How much of the liability falls on my tenants, and how much falls on the owner?

Asked on April 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You, as the owner, are the one bound by the HOA agreement(s) and therefore are the one responsible for violations of the rules. The HOA may only levy such fines or penalties on you as are provided for in the governing documents and rules--they can't simply arbitrarily impose fines for any reason, unless the government documents actually give them that power. However, as stated, whatever fines they can impose, they can impose on you, and you are the one who has to pay them or suffer the consequences (e.g. liens, legal action).

You in turn could demand payment from your tenants, since it is their wrongful actions which are imposing these costs on you; if they will not, you could sue them for the money. You may also be able to evict them if you chose, though you should reference the terms of your lease to see what grounds may exist for eviction.


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