Are You the Enforcer?

By Evelyn Dufford, CMCA, PCAM

Are you the enforcer of your association’s rules?  We’ve been discussing rules and how to adopt them.  The final piece to that puzzle is the due process policy.  Do you have a policy that describes how a violation comes to be acted upon or how the Board handles complaints?  Do you have a policy that describes how a fine is levied against a member?  Well that’s what a due process policy is.

When it comes to these types of issues that have the potential to cause a little heartburn in the community, I like to rely on our friends the experts.  Below is a link to one of our attorney friends that have a blog as well.  Condo Law Group is a Seattle based firm that is up to date with the latest laws and court decisions regarding community associations.  Check out their recent articles on due process and rule enforcement.

Condo Law Group Article – Click Here

Now that we’ve got the puzzle put together, how do we implement it all? You’ve heard of, “location, location, location” right?  Well, community associations it’s, “communication, communication, communication.”  We are a big believers in communication.  Tell the membership what you’re going to do, tell them when you’re going to do it and then tell them when you’ve completed it.

We have an Association that came to us with the desire to get the neighborhood back in shape.  They had done a lot with enforcement because of a big event that drained the community in funds and spirit.  So we started with a newsletter letting the membership know what the Board was going to do and why.  We listed the focus of the month with trash cans being out of sight as the first rule that was going to be enforced in April.  Then it was yard maintenance in May.  When we did the first drive thru we sent courtesy notices.  In May we did official warnings for the yards and a newsletter stating how many homes were notified of violations.  From there we saw a big improvement.  In June we focused on garden beds and parking.  July was roof maintenance and August was exterior painting. The Board was very reasonable with members who needed additional time to complete larger projects. By September the neighborhood looked and felt so much better.  Yes, we did have to revisit some of the previous homes with reminders but overall we receive positive feedback from the members and more people came to the annual meeting in October.

You can do the same.  Keep in mind what is the best for the community.  If Board’s intent is good and implemented with lots of communication, the community will respond in kind.  Remember Newton’s law; to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?  It holds true for people. If you push hard, they will push back hard.  If you push gently and with respect, the push back will be gentle and with respect.

I encourage you to exchange curiosity for criticism.  Please send me your questions or comments at  And thank you Condo Law Group and their fine attorneys.