Covenant Enforcement

Our covenants are protective, not restrictive, and are meant to protect the property values of our residents (they prevent a chicken ranch from being built on the lot next to your home, for an extreme example). If there is an activity that is not in keeping with our covenants it is your HOA that will go to bat for you to protect the enjoyment and value of your property.

Our covenants are a legal document, enforceable by law, and the HOA will go to court if necessary to enforce them. The current Board of Directors has taken the position that they cannot pick and choose which covenants are enforced and which are not. Either we enforce all of them or we can enforce none of them. For example, some may feel that the requirement for "cast aluminum replicas of wrought iron" mailboxes is arbitrary, however that is what is written in our covenants and that is what we have to deal with.

Should the current, or any future Board, choose to not enforce our covenants then The Lakes will become an "anything goes" subdivision and that will be directly reflected in a decrease in our property values. The current Board is in the process of enforcement of items that have been ignored in the past; storage sheds in excess of 100 square feet that are not a minimum of 60% brick, more than one outbuilding on a lot, unused vehicles stored in public sight, fences constructed without approval, are but four examples.

The Board has, and will, issue notices to the property owners in violation that they need to comply with our covenants in a set period of time. If compliance with our covenants is not met by the time line established by the Board then the matter will be turned over to The Lakes attorney and legal action will be filed in the Lafayette County Chancery Court.

The Board takes no pleasure in taking this course of action, however it is the only effective way to enforce our covenants.

A Perspective On HOA Board of Directors
The following was posted on Zillow's web site, June 2014.

Have You Thanked Your HOA Board Member Lately?

"While many owners in Common Interest Development (HOA) communities have unflattering opinions about the board members who govern their neighborhoods, the truth is, they're generally working to protect your home and investment.

Let's walk through what HOA board members do for the community to get a better idea about the important role they fill.

What does the board do?

In most cases, HOA board members are owners who are elected by the other unit owners from within the community. The board's job is to interpret and enforce the rules as dictated by the community's bylaws and covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). Every owner who buys into an HOA-governed community is given a copy of those bylaws and CC&Rs to review. Even if you don't take the time to glance through those HOA documents, as a buyer you agree to live within the rules and regulations of the community.

The board hires the management company for the community, approves vendors and payments, penalizes property owners who violate the rules, approves the annual budget, makes legal decisions when necessary, and handles every other function that a governing body needs to do on behalf of the people they are governing ­ subject to the bylaws and CC&Rs. Boards follow those rules closely because if they allow an exception here or there, it's likely to create conflicts with other owners who expect the rules to be followed."

Most boards do a good job handling functions that individual unit owners are simply relieved they don't have to deal with. And contrary to news reports bashing HOA boards, board members typically are unpaid, and they're rarely stealing money or imposing draconian rules. When those horror stories surface, it's generally because one or two owners choose to publicly air a grievance, rather than working through the community to make positive changes for everyone.

Unhappy with the board's work?

My advice for folks who don't like what their HOA board is doing is to quit whining! Note: I am not a board member in any community, but I attend HOA meetings and see many unreasonable complaints ­ and for full disclosure, I see some valid ones too.

One of the most important rules in every single HOA is that if the members of the community do not like the decisions of the board, they can vote the board members out. If you don't like the rules of the community ­ as enforced by the BOD ­ talk to your neighbors, campaign in the community, and get yourself elected to the board so you can interpret and enforce the rules.

Most people who object to what's happening won't do anything to help the board. They just want to keep complaining. But if you aren't going to spend your time and effort to help better govern the community, then don't criticize the folks who are doing it.

The majority of the time, community members should be saying thank you to board members for spending their time doing a thankless job, trying to protect every community member's biggest asset.

I've seen HOA board members in a few communities get so fed up with dealing with complaining constituents that they just give up and quit. Then the task of managing and operating the community ­ paying bills, making decisions and enforcing rules ­ is not done by anyone for months.

Take my word for it, you don't want to live in one of those communities!"