What is a Homeowners Association?

A Homeowners Association, also known as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) or a Common Interest Development (CID) is a non-profit organization that oversees neighborhood’s common area and establishes general rules and standards for the community. Homeowners’ associations are established with the intent of protecting community assets and establishing a code of conduct for owners and residents, while instituting proper and sound financial management practices.

Who makes decisions on behalf of the Homeowners Association?

Decisions concerning homeowner association operations are made by a Board of Directors, which is made up of volunteers who are initially appointed by the developer and thereafter elected by the community’s residents during the annual membership meeting. The Board appoints officers and depending on the number of units or homes in the association will usually determine how extensive a role the Board takes. The Board may appoint a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and member-at-large and in many cases the By-Laws allow for one person to hold more than one office. Additionally, the Board may appoint other owners to serve on committees to assist with the operations. Examples include: Landscaping, Finance and Budgeting, Maintenance, Social, and Architectural Committees.

What are the Board of Directors responsible for?

The Board of Directors are responsible for making most operating and enforcement decisions on behalf of the homeowners’ association. These decisions include but are not limited to establishing budgets, preparing reserve studies and enforcing the collection of assessments; making sure contracts are in place for the maintenance of the common area and vendors are providing the work they were contracted for; having proper insurance for the association, and establishing and enforcing the rules and regulations.

What are the Governing Documents of the Association?

The Governing Documents are documents that help to govern the powers, rights, and responsibilities of the Board of Directors of the Association and the Owners. These documents will include Articles of Incorporation for incorporated associations; By-Laws; CC&R’s which stands fort Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, and sometimes called the Declaration or Declaration of Restrictions; and the Rules and Regulations.

What types of housing communities are run by Homeowners Associations?

The general term that a homeowners’ association or Community Association refers to is a Common Interest Subdivision or Common Interest Development. These pertain to any development where there is some property owned exclusively and some property owned in common by owners in the development. They include Condominium Projects, Planned Unit Developments-usually made up of single-family homes, Stock Cooperatives, and Condominiums.

Note: Although homeowners associations refer to residential property; a common interest property can also include commercial or office space and are governed similarly to a homeowners’ association.

What is my role as a homeowner?

All homeowners should assume responsibility to protect property values and secure a lifestyle that all residents can enjoy. As a member of your community association, your legal responsibilities to the community association include complying with the governing documents, rules and regulations, architectural guidelines, policies and procedures, and paying the assessment necessary to operate the community association. Should you wish to influence the direction of the association it is advisable that you volunteer to serve on the Board of Directors.

Do I have to pay the monthly assessment if I belong to the community association?

Yes, all homeowners and lot owners owning a unit or lot within a community association automatically become a member of that community association and are required to pay the assessment. The assessment covers all of the costs associated with operating a community association. You as an owner whether living at the property or not living here, you are responsible for the dues assessed o your property, even if you are not using the facilities, such as trash etc.

What does my monthly assessment pay for?

The assessment covers the operating expenses that the community association is legally responsible for. Typical expenses include insurance, water and sewer, gas and electricity, landscaping services, street maintenance, maintenance and management. Assessments also cover the funding of reserves, which are funds accumulated to pay for future repair or replacement of major components for which the community association is responsible. This could include the gate house, streets and the wastewater treatment plant.

What is the role of a management company?

The daily workload for maintaining the association is often very time-consuming for a volunteer Board of Directors. A management company is an independent firm that assists the Board in the daily functions some of which include, helping the board to stay in compliance with the governing documents and laws, handling notices and correspondence to the owners, acting as homeowner liaison, and providing routine inspections of the property.

Are HOA rules legally binding?

Yes, HOA rules are legally binding. The HOA can potentially fine or file a lawsuit against an owner who violates any restriction, covenant, or rule, as well as hold the owner responsible for any attorney’s fees or costs incurred by the HOA in enforcing that rule.

Can an HOA change rules after purchasing a home?

A Board of Directors/Developer can change the rules at any time upon following applicable procedures. The rules and regulations are usually outlined in the development’s Bylaws and/or CC&Rs.

What happens if you break HOA rules?

If an owner breaks an HOA rule they will receive a violation notice, and if not corrected, the owner may be fined, suspended from using the community’s facilities, or in rare cases, sued (depending on the nature of the violation).

Can I be forced to join an HOA?

The only way you can become part of an HOA is when you buy a unit or lot that is part of an Association. Owners are not usually forced to buy a unit in an Association, but once they do, they are a member of that Homeowners Association until they sell.

Do HOA fees ever go away?

HOA fees and assessments do not ever go away unless the association was formed for architectural guidelines only or has been dissolved.

Do renters or owners pay HOA fees?

Owners are charged HOA fees and are responsible for paying them. Some owners choose to have their tenants pay the fees, but if there are any delinquencies the owner is responsible and collection action goes against the homeowner, not the renter.

What happens if you don’t pay your HOA fees?

If an owner does not pay their assessments, the owner will receive late notices, a pre-lien notice, and ultimately, the Board of Directors can vote to foreclose on the property.

Are HOA fees mandatory?

Yes, HOA fees and assessments are mandatory and must be paid if someone buys a unit in an Association.

Do HOA board members get paid?

Generally, HOA Board of Directors are unpaid volunteers who choose to sit on the Board voluntarily. Some may receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses associated with Board membership.

What is the difference between HOA bylaws and covenants?

HOA bylaws are essentially guidelines for the operation of the HOA. The Bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the Board of Directors, the terms of the Directors, required meetings and notices of meetings, elections, and the principal office of the Association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the Association as a business.

HOA bylaws are essentially guidelines for the operation of the HOA. The Bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the Board of Directors, the terms of the Directors, required meetings and notices of meetings, elections, and the principal office of the Association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the Association as a business.

What should the Homeowner/Property Owner do if they receive a Violation Notice?

Upon receiving a violation notice, a homeowner should immediately contact the association and ask for a face-to-face meeting and let them know that they will comply and by when. Once the violation has been corrected, send notification saying it has been corrected. If you dispute the violation, then a letter should be sent stating why within ten days of receiving the letter.