Fines on Unpaid Fines
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FINES ON UNPAID FINES

QUESTION: Is it legal to fine someone twice on the same violation if they refuse to pay the first fine and have remedied what the fine was for in the first place?

ANSWER: The imposition of monetary penalties requires due process, which must be done in accordance with the association's published fine policy. I've never seen language in any governing document that allows a board to levy fines on unpaid fines or two fines on a single violation. If your board had a written, published policy that allowed for fines on fines, I suspect a court would find it unreasonable.

Board Options. If an owner refuses to pay a fine, boards have two options. The first is to take the person to small claims court for a judgment in the amount of the fine. This approach is not always successful--small claims judges are a bit unpredictable. The second option is to hold a hearing and find the person "not in good standing" and suspend their privileges and voting rights until the fines are paid.

Recommendation: Boards should have their association's legal counsel review their governing documents and advise them on how best to levy and pursue monetary penalties.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC