Smart Strategies to Encourage Voluntary Rule Compliance

A a board member of a Condominium or Homeowners’ Association (HOA), you know that rules must be in place to foster a cohesive and functional community. However, it can be time-consuming to constantly monitor and enforce rules when there is so much more on your plate. That’s why it is essential to have a plan that creates an environment where rule compliance is voluntary. When you lay out a set of rules that offer guidance to the entire community, everyone benefits, and the aesthetics and value of a community are protected.

Before setting expectations, you must ensure that rules are necessary, clear, effective, reasonable, and above all, legal. Community members are more likely to follow rules that are easily understood. Abiding by these guidelines on their own allows board members to focus more critically on issues and cultivate a happier, stress-free atmosphere for all. Read on to find out the smart strategies that encourage voluntary compliance among residents in your community.

(1) Address Infractions Directly Before Acting

voluntary rule compliance

If possible, address an infraction directly before you start imposing consequences. While you have a responsibility to enforce the rules, it’s better to take a moment to explain what went wrong and why the regulation must be followed in the future. Residents appreciate and feel more valued with an authentic approach. If a homeowner is still resistant, you can offer more information about ramifications if the violation continues.

(2) Provide Information About Where to Find the Rules

voluntary rule compliance

Often, residents will inadvertently violate the rules, not realizing what they’ve done or not knowing the rule exists in the first place. When you approach a resident about an issue or remind the community of an existing rule, it helps to establish and emphasize its significance. Direct residents to the community’s governing documents and provide information on where to find them, along with the rules and regulations within them. As the constitution of the community, these files detail everything homeowners – and board members – can and cannot do. Stress the legal nature of the governing documents in a matter-of-fact tone, delivering a necessary message that’s more likely to stick.

(3) Create a Compliance Committee

In order to promote transparency, consider forming a compliance committee. This committee works in cooperation with the board to assist with enforcement and cultivate a more welcoming neighborhood.
Overall, a compliance committee should:

  • Assist with creating new rules and amending old rules.
  • Work with the board to enforce regulations.
  • Implement ways for community members to easily access and understand the rules.
  • Deliver policy-related communications.

Assigning a committee for the job helps board members fulfill their responsibilities more effectively, while giving community members first-hand experience with Condo Association rules.

(4) Involve Residents in the Rule-Making Process

HOA Meeting Agenda

It’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of the ever-changing needs within your community. In doing so, you must ensure the rules and restrictions in your governing documents are also up to date with the times. Work with residents to review existing rules, identify areas that may need adjustment, and examine processes. That way, you can amend the regulations that no longer hold value for your Condo Association. Invite homeowners to become a part of the compliance committee, schedule a public hearing where homeowners can voice their opinions, send a poll on proposed measures, or hold an information session on current rules in question. Getting honest input from homeowners promotes harmony within the Association, while creating efficiency for your board.


(5) Give Notice Before Voting on a New Rule

By giving your residents notice that a vote is about to take place on a new rule, you are showing that you respect their opinion and value their insight. While voting requirements may vary by Condo Association, it’s customary to provide at least 15 to 30 days notice of an impending vote. By making the voting process as clear and straightforward as possible, homeowners will feel more involved in the direction of the community.

(6) Improve Communication Efforts Within Your Community

Effective communication is crucial to your success as a Condo Association/HOA. Using various mediums to share information about established rules and regulations can help nurture a better, more agreeable relationship between board members and homeowners. Consider utilizing different communication methods such as your HOA newsletter, community website, social media channels, and your annual notices.

Establish Fair Rule Creation and Enforcement

When you establish fair rules for your neighborhood that are comprehensible and necessary, you will see an increase in voluntary compliance among your residents. Read our article, “HOA Checklist: Setting Your Eyes on Yearly Goals” for more information on tips and tricks for your community.

Let us know what tips you think COA’s & HOA’s could use to better balance their voluntary compliance by emailing us at:

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