Question: I am the president of our HOA in Chandler. One of our homeowners has rented her home to a young ASU student. He has a motorcycle that he drives at dangerous speeds in our community, and he has ignored the complaints from other homeowners. We have contacted the elderly lady who owns the home, and she said that there is nothing that she can do. Our CC&Rs authorize us to fine homeowners who drive at dangerous speeds in our community. Our written fine schedule says that the first fine can be $50 and the second fine can be $100. We are concerned that these small fines will be ignored, and we want to have an immediate fine of $500 to protect the safety of our community. Can we fine the tenant, or do we have to fine the homeowner? Can the fine be $500 to protect the safety of our community?
Answer: First, the homeowner, and not the renter, agreed with the HOA to be governed by the CC&Rs. Therefore, the homeowner is generally liable for any failure of the tenant to comply with the CC&Rs, and the homeowner is responsible for any fines. Second, under Arizona law before a fine can be imposed by an HOA, there must be a written schedule of fines. Therefore, at this time your HOA can only fine the homeowner $50 for a first violation of the CC&R’s.
Note: The HOA has the right to expect all residents, whether owner or tenant, comply with HOA rules. But with tenant, it’s up to the landlord to enforce the community’s rules, not the HOA. Generally, the method to enforce the HOA rules against the tenant is for the landlord to provide written copies of the HOA rules to renters before move-in, and stipulate in the lease that the landlord has the right to recoup the fines assessed by the HOA due to violations by the tenant.