Homeowners Associations & Illegal Dumping Problems

Unfortunately, most homeowners associations must manage the problem of illegal dumping. Indeed, trash regulations are among the first rules listed in HOA manuals, and with good reason. City fines are directed first to the HOA of the offending neighborhood. These fines can easily exceed $1000 per each day the trash isn’t removed from the dumping site. If the HOA felt inclined to challenge these fines, court costs can bankrupt an entire neighborhood.

So why would the city fine neighborhoods that have been literally dumped on?  Once the rubbish finds its way onto the property it becomes the responsibility of the victimized neighborhood to pick it up, with the owners paying the fees. Tenants of HOA controlled neighborhoods also end up paying for the dumping in the form of raised rents due to fines incurred by the misplaced garbage.

This issue is made even trickier to manage when the people who are doing the dumping are the neighbors in adjacent neighborhoods. Discussing the issue can often lead to a more abrasive relationship with these neighbors and make a bad situation even worse.

There are reasonable, logical solutions the HOA board can implement to combat the illegal dumping. As it is with most matters of a civil nature, open and honest communication with surrounding neighborhoods is a good place to start.

Here are some action items a Homeowners Association can do to help your community with the Illegal Dumping problem:

  • If you witness the dumping, take a picture or write down:
    • The license plate number
    • The description of the vehicle
    • What was dumped
  • Post signs according to the laws of your city.  (Following the city requirements allow code enforcement officers to help with appropriate action)
  • Report any Illegal Dumping problems to code enforcement and work with them to help you combat the problem
  • Cameras with high resolution that can capture license plates in complete darkness will give code enforcement the evidence needed to prosecute
  • Communicate and work with the surrounding neighborhoods