In 2012, an estimated 25.9 million homeowners were members of a homeowners association. These community organizations, which help provide shared neighborhood values and community services, typically require every homeowner in an HOA development to be a part of the group, making them accountable to the association’s regulations. All members of an HOA must pay HOA management fees, which range from $200 to $400 a month, and are encouraged to attend community meetings to keep informed on the ways the organization tries to create a harmonious living environment. However, despite these measures, even the best intentions can go awry: as much of the United States experiences extended droughts, many HOAs are reportedly struggling to enforce local water restrictions among their residents.
In Palm Springs, a number of community members have complained that many HOAs and HOA property management services have failed to educate and uphold water restrictions in their neighborhoods. The city has reportedly prohibited watering between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., while the local water company has imposed a similar limit between the hours of 10 a.m and 5 p.m. However, people have reported seeing a number of violations in HOA-run areas, including sprinklers running during the day. Some say that they suspect people have not been properly advised on the restrictions, while others say that HOAs have failed to dedicate the time and energy necessary to seek out violators. A few have even suggested that community gardening companies may be worried about losing their jobs, and are overwatering out of caution.
As difficult as this issue is for the Palm Springs community to solve, it provides a perfect example of why homeowners and HOAs should take measures to improve communication and operations within their neighborhoods. If you are a homeowner, for example, make sure you are attending regular board meetings to learn about new regulations affecting your area; after all, you pay HOA management fees and therefore have a financial investment in ensuring the community runs smoothly. Meanwhile, if you are part of an HOA board, there are a number of HOA management solutions you should consider instituting to ensure these regulations are enforced: an HOA management company, for example, can help negotiate with those who violate community restrictions, work with local contractors to avoid miscommunication, and more. One can only hope Palm Springs can utilize these solutions to quickly solve their water problems. Research more here.