It’s sweet, sweet summertime. That means you're headed out for a much-needed family vacation. Maybe you’re off to the beach or an amusement park, but wherever you go, the last thing you want to see when you come home is an HOA fine.
Here’s how to avoid them while you’re soaking up the sun:
Fly your flag. If your family going out of town for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day weekend, it's important to stay patriotic. However, check with your homeowners association about your flag-flying rights before you pack your bags. Most HOA boards will give only parameters, like the size of the flag or where it can be located.
Set out lawn ornaments. Similar to the above-mentioned rules, banners, posters, signs, and ornaments are typically fine. However, HOA rules can be made regarding commercial use, public health and safety concern, and so on. Check with your HOA board members about leaving lawn decorations out before you drive to the beach.
Hire a dog or cat sitter. Most homeowners associations allow you to own at least one pet. However, a lot of HOA boards also have rules about noise, leashed animals, and pet feces in common areas. To avoid any furry neighbor disputes, ask a friend or family member to check your dog or cat daily.
Leave a checklist of where their food and water bowls are, when to take them outside, and how many treats to give them and when. This decreases the likelihood of getting an HOA fine while you’re on that new roller coaster.
Suspend mail and newspaper delivery. This is a great travel tip for security purposes, but it also avoids HOA fines from boards who enforce rules about overflowing mailboxes.
According to lifestyle website Real Simple, you should “contact the post office...to hold your mail [three days prior to leaving your home]. Do the same for your newspaper delivery..or have a trusted neighbor collect mail, packages, and newspapers while you’re away, so they don’t accumulate at the front door -- a sure sign you’re not home.”
Bring in your trash cans and recycling bins. Many homeowners associations have rules about where and for how long trash cans and recycling bins can be left outside. If you’re going to be on family vacation, throw away perishable kitchen items like dairy, cold cuts, and produce. (You can also donate everything to a local food bank or give it to a neighbor to cut down waste.)
Once you’ve gotten rid of the food, take out your recycling bins and trash cans. Avoid using them until you come back from family vacation to also eliminate ants and flies.
Leave a car in the driveway -- but avoid the street or parking lots. HOA rules regarding parking are highly enforced, even if you’re not home to move your vehicle. Instead, leave a car in your driveway for security purposes, and move other vehicles to the garage.
Let your HOA board know that you’ll be away. While you can’t receive an HOA fine for not telling someone you’ll be out of town, it’s wise to let your homeowners association know that your family will be away on a cruise. Ask if they can keep an eye out for unusual activity around your house and to email you the agenda from missed meetings.
Check your landscaping. Some HOA boards have regulations about the appearance of your lawn. Don’t get caught with an HOA fine because your landscaping wasn’t up to par before you left for that golf trip. Download IKO Community Management’s Landscaping Checklist below: