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Feeling Singled Out?

Updated: May 30, 2019

When a homeowner receives a violation notice, they usually don't feel very positive about it. The notices are nicknamed "nastygrams" for a reason. But keep a few things in mind:

It's Not Personal

Your property manager doesn't know who lives where. She's just looking at the house in front of her. She doesn't know if your lawnmower is broken, or if you're waiting on quotes to replace the fence, or if you've had an emergency that month. A violation letter isn't a judgment of you or your capability as a homeowner, it's just a letter bringing an issue to your attention.

It's Worded That Way For a Reason

And the reason isn't to intimidate you, but to comply with state law. The Texas Property Code has a specific process by which an HOA must notify a homeowner of a violation, and specific language that must be included in the letter. Yes, that makes the letters feel less friendly. Would a knock on the door or a phone call be more personable? Maybe, but there is one property manager and 1000 homeowners. It's not practical, or compliant with the property code, to make housecalls, phone calls, or craft individually worded letters for each owner.

You Just Need to Communicate

The worst thing you can do with a violation letter is ignore it. If you need more time to correct the issue, let your property manager know. If you don't think you're in violation, file an appeal - that is your right under the law. If you think you received a notice by mistake - that's possible, your manager is human.

It Isn't Just You

When homeowners do call management about a violation letter they've received, they almost always ask "What about my neighbor, what about the house on this street or that street". Don't assume they didn't get letters too. No one is intentionally singled out to receive letters. Your property manager cannot give you the details of violations issued to other homeowners, but that doesn't mean those violations are not being addressed.

While it is certainly possible that a particular address may have been overlooked, or a violation not noticed, your property manager has an ethical and legal obligation to treat all homeowners in the same manner. That means everyone is held to the same standard and everyone has the same opportunity to file an appeal, or to request a variance or more time to correct the issue.

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