How To Avoid Getting HOA Fines This Summer


According to Oxford Learning, summer brain is real.

From June to August, students often forget what they’ve learned even after dedicating ten months to education. This growth mindset isn’t just for kids, though. As parents and homeowners, we tend to let little things slide because we’re distracted by warm weather, the countdown to family vacation, or summer holidays.

To avoid this brain drain (and HOA fines) when it comes to home upkeep, check out IKO’s summer tips:

Don’t blow off your dues. If you forget to pay your HOA fees because of summer brain, the association can enact a variety of collection measures, depending on the CC&Rs.

Be diligent when going out of town. While you’re on family vacation, you’re not thinking about if the car is parked on the curb or if your recycling bin is still out. The HOA will notice while you’re gone.

To avoid coming home to a violation (and a subsequent HOA fine), understand what you need to do around your home before you go out of town. Certain HOA fines can be around $100 per day, up to $1,000, so don’t skip out on being diligent.

Adhere to community pool guidelines. On Memorial Day, communities open the gates to their community pool. To avoid getting fined for playing against the rules, brush up on pool etiquette:

  • Use your pool passes. Use your neighborhood membership passes, guest passes, and/or fobs. To keep pool access, stay up-to-date on dues and avoid outstanding violations. Also, be sure to submit a completed application with photo identification.
  • Abide by the age restrictions. At certain pools, children between certain ages can be unsupervised if a parent or legal guardian has given permission to staff. However, some pools require that these children pass a lifeguard-monitored swim test and still abide by the “adult swim” policy.

  • Be mindful of food and drink. Many communities allow snacks, but keep the goodies within a certain distance of the water. Grills and other portable cooking/preparation appliances, alcoholic beverages, and glass containers are often prohibited. Trash and recycling should always be properly disposed of in specified containers.

  • Don’t smoke. Most community pools prohibit smoking in the pool, inside locker rooms/dressing area and bathrooms, and within the outdoor confines of the pool.

  • Leave your pets at home. Please respect if your pool has a no pets policy, and leave your furry friend at home.

  • Don’t run or participate in horseplay. Please refrain from engaging in any horseplay, illegal diving and jumping, roughhousing, breath-holding games, running in and around the pool, and other dangerous activities. If you happen to see anything like this, please let a lifeguard or pool manager know.

  • Respect lifeguards and pool managers. Lifeguards and pool managers are required to be CPR- and first aid-certified. Their top priority is to keep you and your family safe, so don’t distract them by splashing in their direction, asking to touch the lifeguard tube, or talking to them. If you have anything to say, wait until they’re off duty.

  • Keep electronic devices away from the water. IKO highly suggests keeping cell phones, music devices, laptops, and headphones at least 10 to 15 feet away from the water.

  • Use the lost and found. Lesson one on how to be a good neighbor? If you find an unattended item, please place it in the lost and found and avoid taking anything (even temporarily) from the lost and found if it’s not yours.

  • Refrain from bringing giant inflatables. Many HOA communities understand if you’d like to bring small pool toys. However, don't bring giant inflatables and rafts out of respect for others.

  • Wear the proper attire. Most guests, including non-potty-trained children, are required to wear proper bathing suit attire.

Follow seasonal regulations. If you bought your new home in the winter, you quickly became aware of holiday decorating disputes and snow removal policies. Now that summer’s here, what should you look out for?

  • Pick up after your pup. Evening sunshine means after-work walks for your pet. Be sure to pick up after them to avoid a small HOA fine.
  • Put your grill where it's safe. This rule mainly goes for apartments and condominiums that offer porches. Some HOAs have a rule that appliances with fire must be about 15 feet from the complex.

For more information about how to be a good neighbor, download our popular Guide To HOA Rules:

Download IKO's Guide to HOA Rules and Bylaws