A resident of Iron Oaks HOA reported to Channel 3 that the HOA issues speeding fines to residents in the community. He reported that the HOA cited him for speeding. The report showed a letter from Iron Oaks HOA stating that the member was speeding. However, it showed that he was only going thirty-seven miles per hour in a thirty-five mph zone.
The HOA speeding fine is $50.00. But, in this instance, the HOA didn’t issue a $50.00 fine; they sent a “friendly notice”. However, it is a notice of non-compliance. And the HOA may follow with a fine if the resident repeats the violation.
Two miles an hour over the speed limit doesn’t sound like much, does it? It isn’t much. Nevertheless, two miles per hour is over the HOA posted speed limit. Consequently, the association has the right to issue speeding fines.
That brings up two questions:
Does the HOA have the right to control the speed in the community?
Is a speeding fine for two miles per hour over the limit being nit-picky?
To answer the first question:
Streets located within a gated community are private streets. The HOA owns and maintains the streets. Thus, the Local police have no authority over speeding within that community. For that reason, the HOA Board of Directors must set a speed limit for the safety of community residents.
Many boards will opt to put in speed humps to help prevent speeding. Speed humps control the speed near the humps, but many drivers will speed up between the humps. It is an effort and expense to buy speed lasers, and have a community volunteer or employee use the laser. For many communities, the laser option is not workable.
The HOA board can develop rules to issue speeding fines.
To answer the second question: ” Is a fine for two miles per hour over the limit being nit-picky?”
It would seem that way; yet, a board must enforce the CC&R’s across the board. Besides, if the compliance coordinator doesn’t issue a violation for two miles over the limit to one person, and issues a violation for four miles over the limit to another person, that is not enforcing the rules across the board. Both drivers exceeded the speed limit. Therefore, the person getting the violation notice could allege discriminatory treatment.
Thirty-five mph is the speed limit on a street where no houses front the street. The speed limit where houses front the street is usually 25 mph. Speed limits on major thoroughfares such as Dobson Road or Germann, is usually 45 mph. So, a limit of 35 mph on a major community street with no houses fronting the street is reasonable. The key word is “limit”, which means that is the maximum speed in that area. On public streets, police may allow a cushion of 5 or 7 mph where they will not issue a ticket. An HOA does not have that flexibility. They must enforce the rules evenly.
Compliance coordinators must follow rules that are set by the board. They must administer those rules without exception. If they do not administer the rules by the guidelines, they could lose their jobs. Also, other residents may sue the HOA for uneven enforcement of the rules.
HOA Issues Speeding Fines to Residents
In the TV article, an Iron Oaks spokesperson said they have issued hundreds of violation letters. However, he did not say if all those were fines, or if they were first notices.