Do you have questions about property management? Just curious about how HOAs work? Our team of professionals has compiled the following list of frequently asked questions.
This page will be updated periodically to include additional information and valuable questions so please be sure to check back often.
A Homeowner Association (HOA) is a private corporation that functions as the governing body of the community and is initially formed by real estate developers when the community is being designed, developed and sold. As the governing body of the community the HOA assumes financial and legal responsibility for the community as well as retains all voting and governance rights until a given number of units are sold within the community and thus all Association ownership and responsibilities are turned over to the homeowners.
HOA’s may include single family homes, town homes, and/or condominiums. Ultimately, the primary purpose of an HOA is to maintain the property values of the community. It accomplishes this through the development and enforcement of its covenants and bylaws, the rules that determine what actions individual homeowners may, or may not, take with their property or within the community at large. All homeowners in the development become members of the HOA as a mandatory consequence of purchasing a property within the community.
An HOA’s Board of Directors, once the HOA has been turned over to the homeowners, is comprised of a group of volunteer homeowners who have been elected to the Board by the community. Typically, there are three or four positions comprising the Board of Directors. These positions usually, though not always, include: President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary.
Once elected these officers of the Board of Directors are responsible for making association policy, enforcing association policy, collecting the association dues, managing the association finances, and ensuring the maintenance of all association common areas, portions of the community not owned by individual homeowners.
You become a member of the HOA as a mandatory consequence of purchasing a home within the community. As a member of the HOA you are entitled to voting rights, giving you a voice within the community to assist in determining association policies. Also, as a member of the association you are required to share the financial cost of operating and maintaining the community as well as sharing the cost of any services the association determines it will provide for homeowners.
All of these costs are covered through payment of HOA dues. These dues are recurring on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis and each homeowner is required to pay them. The amount of the dues, as well as when homeowners are required to pay them, may vary widely depending on the community. Some variables that may affect the cost of these dues include, but are not limited to, the size of the community, the cost of its operation and maintenance as well as the cost of any services provided.
HOA dues are recurring payments made from homeowners to the association for membership in the community. Depending on the community these dues may be made monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. This money is used by the HOA to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the association. The benefit of paying the dues is homeowner access to any services provided by the association beyond ancillary operational support.
These services may include access to amenities that homeowners may not be able to afford and/or maintain individually such as swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, gyms, etc. Also, dues may cover services that homeowners may not have to pay for separately due to their inclusion in the association such as landscaping, snow removal, trash services, security, etc.
Lawn care and Landscaping
A/C and Heating Systems
Electrical Systems and Lighting
Cleaning, Painting and Upkeep of Exteriors and Common Areas like Hallway Walls, Carpeting, Clubhouse, etc.
Repair of Roofs, Community Streets, Pipes, Elevators, Etc.
Maintenance of Shared Amenities Such as Pools, Fitness Equipment, Clubhouses, etc.
Insurance Protecting Community Property Against Damage
Utility Payments for Common Areas Such as Electricity, Lighting, Water, Heating and Air Conditioning
Reserve Account to Cover Planned and Budgeted Renovations or Repairs Not Occurring Regularly
Contingency Funds to Cover Unforeseen Community Expenses and/or Emergencies
Services of a Professional Property Management Company to Manage Operations, Maintenance and enforce Association Rules and Regulations
A HOA has rules and regulations in order to protect the property values of the community, ensure minimum standards of property maintenance, promote an enriching environment for community residents and prevent noxious or disruptive behavior. All homeowners are obligated to follow the association’s rules and regulations.
You may find your HOA’s rules and regulations in the community’s governing documents. The governing documents typically include the Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, and the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).
The CC&Rs provide the most comprehensive information about the operation of the association and detail any policies or procedures on topics as wide ranging as architectural guidelines, lawn care, pools, pets, parking, noise, fines for non-compliance and so on.
The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions is the most important of the association governing documents. Should there ever arise any conflict between the CC&Rs and the other documents the CC&Rs win.
Each and every community has its own specific policies, rules and regulations as determined in the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). These rules and regulations define precisely what homeowners may, or may not, due with their homes and within the community at large.
These rules exist in order to maintain the property values of the community by keeping it clean, safe and relatively uniform, thus ensuring a positive, enriching environment for everyone. The CC&Rs are enforced by the Board of directors, or by a property management company on the behalf of the Board of Directors, through periodic inspections and documentation of violations of HOA policy.
All homeowners are obligated to follow all of the rules and regulations of the association regardless of whether or not they agree with them. Non-compliance with the association’s rules and regulations may result in fines and/or legal action.