+What is a homeowners association?
A homeowners association is a not-for-profit entity registered with the state and managed by a duly elected board of directors. Its purpose is to maintain all common areas and to govern the community in accordance with the provision of the legal documents: CC&Rs, bylaws and articles of incorporation. All members of the homeowners association financially support the corporation. Membership is both automatic and mandatory.
+What does the association do?
The association is a not-for-profit entity managed by a board of directors elected by the owners. The board is responsible for the management of the association's funds, the enforcement of the deed restrictions, and the maintenance of common area property. A management company may be contracted by the board of directors to provide many services, such as collection of assessments, covenant enforcement, supervision of subcontractors, obtaining bids for subcontracted services, and providing financial statements and collection reports. The management company also serves in an advisory capacity and as a general clearing house for problem solving and communications with homeowners and the board of directors. The management company reports directly to the board. All decisions are made by a majority vote of the board of directors.
+What is the board of directors?
The homeowners association is a business entity; therefore, a governing body is required to oversee its business. The board of directors is elected by the homeowners, or as otherwise specified in the bylaws. The limitations and restrictions of the powers of the board of directors are outlined in the association governing documents.
+What are the bylaws?
The bylaws are the guidelines for the operation of the business entity. The bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the board of directors, the terms of the directors, the membership’s voting rights, required meetings and notices of meetings, and the principal office of the association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the association as a business.
+What is a managing agent?
The managing agent is a company that is engaged by the board of directors. The managing agent attends to the day-to-day operation of the association and implements the policies and decisions as determined by the board of directors.
+What is the managing agent’s authority?
The managing agent has no authority except as conferred by the board of directors. The managing agent does not make decisions; it implements the decisions of the board.
+What is the "common area"?
It is the land and amenities for the use and enjoyment of the members of the association. This includes facilities like pools and playgrounds in single-family communities and hallways, exercise facilities and building structures in condominium communities.
+Why do I have to pay association fees?
All owners are required to pay association fees by the governing documents of their association. The fees may be due annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly. They fund the operation and maintenance of the common property and are used to provide services for the benefit of all owners. For example, association fees pay for common area landscape maintenance and repairs and for maintenance of pools, playgrounds and equipment. They also provide for improvements desired by the association and for services to the owners.
+How do I pay the association fees?
Owners may elect to pay their association fees via check, or they may have the amount withdrawn from their bank account. Some associations offer an option to pay dues by credit card. Checks must be accompanied by the "assessment coupon" and should be mailed directly to the address shown on the coupon. Owners may also apply to have their payments withdrawn automatically from their bank accounts. This eliminates the inconvenience of checks, coupons or timeliness of payment.
+What are the governing documents?
The governing documents for your association are the articles of incorporation, bylaws, declaration of covenants, and conditions and restrictions (or declaration of condominium), plus any rules and regulations, resolutions or guidelines that have been established by your association.
+Where can I get a copy of the governing documents?
You received a copy at, or prior to, closing on your home. If you need another set, it is available through your association and/or its managing agent. Your governing documents are recorded instruments, so they are also available through the county in which your association is located.
+What are the CC&Rs?
The covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) are the governing legal documents that set up the guidelines for the operation of the planned community as a not-for-profit entity. The CC&Rs were recorded by the county recorder’s office of the county in which the property is located and are included in the title to your property. Failure to abide by the CC&Rs may result in a fine or other action against a homeowner by the association.
+What is a deed restriction?
It is part of the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (or declaration of condominium) that you agreed to when you bought your home. Through this document, you agreed to certain standards of maintenance, upkeep and behavior in order to make the community as attractive as possible for yourself and your neighbors, and to maintain or enhance your property values.
+Why do I need to comply with the deed restrictions?
When you purchase a home in a deed-restricted community, you automatically agree to comply with the restrictions then in place or that are properly established. This ensures that the integrity of the community is maintained.
+Why do I have to get permission for home improvement?
This better ensures that your intended improvement meets your community's standards as set forth in the governing documents and avoids the problems that arise from the construction of improvements and the use of colors or styles that conflict with others in your neighborhood.
+What does the association’s insurance cover?
The association’s insurance typically includes property and casualty policies for all common area property and equipment. In townhome associations, this usually includes the entire exterior of the structures. In condominium associations, this usually includes the entire structure of the building. It may also include liability and directors & officers policies that cover directors, committee members and volunteers working on behalf of the association. For complete information about your associations insurance coverage, please contact your association directly.
+What is a master association?
Master-planned communities are often comprised of several distinct homeowners associations. In such cases, the master association is the "umbrella" organization that provides services that are common to all of the individual associations, such as contracts for community patrol, trash collection, common landscape maintenance, etc.