Homeowner association boards often struggle with enforcing certain rules, such as improper parking, failing to pick up after pets, littering and similar conduct. It is not that the violations are unimportant or do not affect the character of the community; rather, the cost and effort required to catch violators often exceeds the resources available to non-profit homeowner associations.
However, there is a relatively inexpensive, yet highly effective, tool available to associations to combat this behavior: electronic surveillance. As shown in this KOMONEWS.com video story, one apartment tenant using a camcorder and YouTube is deterring illegal activity near his apartment complex.
Some associations may not wish to post on the Internet video of illegal conduct within or adjacent to their neighborhood, for fear of stigmatizing their community and possibly adversely effecting sales. However, an association can still record the activity and forward it to the police. To deter Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R) violations, an association can record a common area where pet owners routinely fail to pick up after their dogs, or visitor parking spaces where unit owners park, or other locations of common violations.
An association can obtain a wireless web camera for well under $100. The camera can be installed inside a common area (such as a clubhouse, office or other enclosed area) or even within an owner’s unit. A day’s worth of digitized video can be reviewed by a board member or committee member in fast-forward time in only a few minutes. If conduct that violates a rule or covenant is found on the video, then the board has compelling evidence to pursue an enforcement action.
Electronic surveillance can be a highly effective and cost-efficient tool for homeowner associations to use in enforcing their CC&Rs.