Living in a multifamily community, whether this is an apartment building or a condo building, comes with certain bylaws. There are usually fines that are used to prevent people from breaking the rules. It is important for everyone to know what these rules are, why they need to be followed, and the penalties for breaking them.
Sometimes, homeowners are surprised when they realize they might be fined differently for breaking the same rule. There are a few points to keep in mind.
The Fines Should Be The Same
While there might be different fines charged for breaking different rules (for example, altering a common area might be different than parking lot damage), the fines should be the same for the same infraction across different homeowners. For example, two homeowners who are both guilty of damaging the mailroom should be fined the same amount. They should not be fined different amounts. There are usually fines that are clearly stated in the HOA bylaws how much someone might be fined. If two people are fined different amounts, then a grievance should be taken up.
Why The Fines Might Be Different
There is one situation where two homeowners who break the same rule might be fined different amounts. This comes in the form of sequential violations. For example, a homeowner who breaks a rule the first time might be fined $10 for the first infraction. Then, the second infraction might jump to $25. The third infraction might jump to $50, and so on. This is one situation where two homeowners who break the same rule might be fined two different amounts.
Read The Bylaws Carefully
If a situation such as this arises, it is important for homeowners to look at the bylaws and see what the fines are supposed to be. All fines should be clearly stated in the bylaws to help homeowners figure out how, why, and where they might be fined.
If there are any fines that seem confusing, then the homeowners should take this up with the HOA and ask for clarification, which the HOA should provide. There might be a reason why the fines might be different. It could also be an honest mistake.