Creating accessible and fair policies for all residents is essential for ensuring that your homeowner’s association (HOA) is an inclusive community that meets the needs of everyone who lives there.

However, it can be all too easy to unintentionally create policies that accidentally discriminate against certain groups of people.

As a board member of your homeowner’s association (HOA), you are responsible for creating policies that are not only fair for all residents but also accessible to all. This can be daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

But by educating yourself on these laws and how they apply to HOAs, you can create policies that comply with both the letter and the spirit of the law.

Additionally, by making your HOA’s policies accessible to all residents, you can help foster a sense of community and inclusiveness within your HOA.

The first step in creating accessible and fair policies for your HOA is to educate yourself on the ADA and the FHA.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including housing. The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status, or disability.

Now, let’s review how to create policies that are accessible and fair for all residents:

1. Make sure your policy does not disproportionately impact any one group of people

For example, a policy requiring all residents to have their yards perfectly manicured at all times may disproportionately impact people with physical disabilities or those who work long hours and do not have the time to keep up with such a demanding policy.

Alternatively, a policy prohibiting all dogs from the community may disproportionately impact families with young children who rely on pets for emotional support.

It’s essential to be aware of how your policies may unintentionally discriminate against certain groups of people and make adjustments accordingly.

 

2. Make sure your policy is clear and concise

Your HOA policies should be clear and concise so that there is no ambiguity about what is expected of residents. Ambiguous policies can lead to conflict and resentment within the community because they leave too much room for interpretation.

If you need clarification on whether your policy is clear and concise, consider asking a neutral third party to read it and give you their feedback.

 

3. Make sure your policy is enforced consistently and fairly

It’s not enough to just have a well-written policy; it’s also essential to enforce it consistently and fairly across the board.

If you find that certain residents are being exempt from following the policy while others are being held accountable, this can create hostility and resentment within the community.

If you need help with enforcing your policy fairly, consider enlisting the help of an outside mediator or arbitrator.

Creating accessible and fair policies for all residents is essential for ensuring that your HOA is an inclusive community that meets the needs of everyone who lives there.

By following the tips in this blog, you can set your community up for success!

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