“Stated simply, fines relating to violations of the governing documents are limited to the extent that fine may be imposed under the HMDL. Section 19 of the HMDL provides “Any person who violates, or causes to be violated, any provision . . . shall be liable to a penalty of not . . . more than $500.00 for each violation, and a penalty of not . . . more than $5,000.00 for each continuing violation.” N.J.S.A. 55:13a-9(b). Thus, it is clear that the board has great latitude in setting fine schedules. Of course, the board has the discretion to assess fines lower than the statutory minimum limits, but any fine cannot exceed the maximum fine limits.
“With regard to the policy considerations relating to fines, and in light of the statutory authority, the board should have a feel for the tolerance of its homeowners toward fines. While there is no hard and fast rule regarding fine schedules, if there are particularly troubling issues in which habitual offenders are undeterred by the fine schedule, then the board should consult with its attorney and property manager to target a fine schedule that addresses these issues. However, any fine schedule must always balance compliance/deterrence with fairness. It is advisable that the association codify the fine schedule via resolution, so that it is of public record and can be found by anyone inquiring.”