If the covenants, conditions and restrictions within a homeowners association are violated, there may be a variety of penalties assessed. However, homeowners living in associations in California can ask for permission to break a rule. A variance may be granted when a covenant would create an undue hardship on a homeowner. For instance, a variance may be ceded if a resident has trouble seeing or wants an animal larger than community rules permit.
If a variance is not granted, the association may have many different ways to enforce its covenants. One possible remedy is to take the offending homeowner to court. However, to win a court case, the association must be able to show that there was a legal contract between itself and the homeowner. Furthermore, the association must show that the homeowner received some sort of benefit from complying with the covenant.
Consideration may come in the form of increased property value or a safer neighborhood to live in. Before a case goes to court, a homeowner may be entitled to receive written or verbal warnings to change his or her behavior. There may also be hearings held by the association in an effort to resolve the dispute. Internal hearings could either be informal or formal in nature.
Someone who is involved in a homeowner dispute may be allowed to gather and present evidence that helps their cause. An attorney could help to obtain the evidence or provide guidance as it relates to what evidence may be worth presenting to an HOA board. Legal counsel may also represent an individual during an HOA hearing or a court proceeding. This may give a homeowner a greater chance of obtaining a favorable outcome in the matter.