Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Government Is (Sometimes) Your Friend

Let’s admit it:  Obtaining compliance with community regulations may takes months, depending on the disposition of the homeowner.  When Association rules parallel local ordinances, let the government do the heavy lifting.  This frees up community resources that can be devoted to other challenges, and often produces results far more quickly. 

Besides the obvious government entities (code enforcement, animal control, fire department) there are other agencies that you can uncover via the Internet.  Consider the situation where there is an abandoned and/or foreclosed home:   HOAs may lack leverage for neglected maintenance, and some properties sit unsold for years.

The Internet is a wonderful tool.  With a search engine keyword of your city/county, along with the phrase ‘foreclosure registry,’ you’ll discover laws enacted in response to the Great Recession.   Many governments in the Atlanta metro area now impose fines of up to $1,000 per day if the current owner (including a bank) of a home fails to register it with the municipality within 30, 60 or 90 days of vacancy.  Registration usually run $100 a year, and requires that a local property agent be listed.  

Fines are a revenue generator, motivating the government to use its considerable resources to track down the person that fails to register.  This eliminates the legal expense the Association would incur locating the owner, allowing you to quickly identify a payee for delinquent assessments, or find someone to address maintenance problems.

The community’s goal is not to feed "Big Brother," but to provide an attractive neighborhood for prospective buyers, driving up home values.  A neglected home on a nearby lot will make anyone seriously reconsider buying into your Association.  Neighborhoods must protect themselves so that one bad home doesn't multiply.

What government-related resources have you come across to address community challenges?  Drop us a line and let us know!

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