Frequently Asked Questions
An HOA or homeowners association offers terrific benefits to homeowners and renters within its community. It organizes, protects, and safeguards the people, property, common areas, and values within it. An HOA is a self-governing group with “in common-interest.” Its participating residents contribute to the preservation of their neighborhood and individual units. Homeowners who reside within the HOA typically administer it themselves. They often serve as unpaid volunteers on the HOA’s board of directors and various committees, which in turn, are responsible for directing and managing the HOA. Governed communities may include single-family homes, townhomes, high-rises, or condominiums and are frequently located inside a planned neighborhood. Contingent upon the type of property, the HOA’s duties might fluctuate. For example, in a condo development it could be responsible for managing the entire complex, whereas in a townhouse community, it might primarily be in charge of common spaces. Each HOA is governed by a particular and unified set of regulations and bylaws that are enforced by the association. These rules and regulations govern all properties within it. Accordingly, each property owner must pay HOA dues. In addition to maintaining common lawns and landscaping, communal facilities may also include access and amenities like swimming pools, parks, play areas, sports courts, dog facilities, parking lots, and roadways. If you’re considering living in a HOA community, expect that there will be expenses and guidelines to adhere to. Here is a basic overview about key things you should know before moving into a HOA community.
What is the cost of living in an HOA and what is the money used for?
Homeowners should anticipate paying annual HOA dues and expenditures ranging between $100 to $2,500 or more per month. The sum is determined by the community’s level of amenities. The average HOA monthly charge nationwide is $170, according to Census data. Depending upon the location of the property and the amenities offered and accessible to property owners, HOA dues vary considerably. At a minimum, homeowners are required to provide their percentage of the association’s operating expenses which may include:
- Repair and maintenance
- Pest control
- Garbage disposal
- Parking and/or parking lots
- Communal utilities (e.g., in common areas)
- Security and safety
In comparison to neighborhoods that only impose rules and limits for bare necessities, neighborhoods with abundant amenities charge significantly more. Homeowners who are part of a HOA could potentially be obligated to pay special assessments such as the removal and desert rocking of common lawn areas. Typically, when natural disasters or other unforeseen issues strike, neighborhoods are going to need major cleanup and repairs that were not included in the original yearly budget. In this circumstance, HOAs have the authority to assess and impose an unique one-time fee to compensate for the added and unexpected expenses.Therefore, when considering a HOA governed community, it is essential to examine the HOA’s past and current finances. Check the frequency and magnitude of yearly assessment increases. Check to verify if the HOA already has enough funds set aside in reserve and proper insurance to cover repairs in the event that, for example, a hurricane smashes the roof off a clubhouse or water destroys landscaping.
How can I get involved in an HOA or volunteer to become a board member?
The monthly gatherings and activities that a HOA community offers its residents make it simpler for residents to get to know their neighbors and make new friendships. When you participate in a HOA you become an integral part of your neighborhood and feel at home almost immediately. Working with others during HOA meetings, talking about problems, and organizing activities together broadens and cements connections. HOA boards often organize social functions and other activities to foster community engagement and stability. Holiday parties, chili cook-offs, association barbecues, and family-friendly outdoor movie nights are all fantastic opportunities to mingle with and to get to know your neighbors. To participate and share your thoughts at the next HOA meeting, talk to your neighbors or approach the board members for suggestions at the next social event. To become a member on a HOA board, you must attend meetings and enquire about elections. Check on whether any positions are available prior to submitting your application to join the board. To guarantee the success of the overall association’s business, it is helpful for board members to have a particular levels of experience in:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Project planning
- Management skills
- Effective communication
When faced with joining homeowners association, some people find the opportunity exciting and others consider it a conundrum. It is essential to firstly evaluate your motivation. Joining a HOA board is undoubtedly a step in the right direction when your true goals are to contribute and enhance the community at large. It can be a good move when searching for ways to meaningfully serve others. People who join HOA boards to champion personal vested interests or to set right one specific point of grievance do not often do well serving on boards. Members must continuously decide what is best for the entire community at all times. While lots of people love the initiative stage of starting new ventures, do you want to reach the “finish-ative” of seeing long, twisted pathways of projects through to conclusions? If you can thoughtfully and emotionally say, “yes,” by all means press ahead.
What are the pros and cons of the HOA lifestyle?
Some homeowners adore their HOA neighborhoods while others find the rules are burdensome and unduly restrictive. To assist you in making your decision, consider the following advantages and disadvantages of a HOA.
- Your neighborhood will be clean and well-maintained with minimal exertion required from your end.
- Regulations will govern house preservation and overall dependability of neighborhood appearances so your property worth and value enjoy stability and growth.
- Access to premium amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, clubhouses, gyms, pet parks, or on-site security will be enjoyed.
- HOA-sponsored activities bind the community together creating opportunities to get to know and to connect with neighbors.
- Instances of neighborhood conflicts regarding property-related concerns can be addressed by and resolved by a HOA board; for example, barking dogs, trashed or poorly maintained yards, extended vehicle parking, or fence disputes.
- Personal and property safety are enhanced.
- Common area repairs and regularly scheduled maintenance occur.
- A forward visioning group is in place to confront problems looming on the horizon.
- Generally speaking, HOAs have quite a significant amount of power over how you care for and occupy your housing.
- You may have limitations on the number and breed of dogs you are permitted to own, as well as on specific design themes, color schemes, and architectural features of your buildings.
- There may be parking and access rules.
- HOA dues can put a strain on your monthly housing budget, particularly if property prices are already high in your area.
- Some HOAs might rigorously send violation warnings for even the simplest infringements.
What are the powers the HOA board legally have?
We frequently hear from managers of community associations that their clients request that in addition to their other duties for the association, they also serve as the association’s legal counsel. A manager who is approached with such a request might question what measures they can or cannot make. Additionally, association bylaws and Nevada State legislation pertaining to these issues can be a little ambiguous and puzzling. A manager acting as an attorney for an association may jeopardize their license if they operate outside of the scope of responsibility. A property manager is banned from performing any conduct that is against the law, outside the scope of their knowledge or ability, or for which they are not licensed.
What practices are prohibited for a community association manager and how can they recognize when a boundary line has been crossed? Courts have determined that the following actions by managers do, in fact, constitute legal practices permitted by law:
- Preparing lien documents
- Determining the timing, method, and form of notice required for Association action.
- Preparation, review, and/or drafting contracts and proxies.
- Determining voting rights and the necessity for voting to take Association action.
- Interpreting or making changes to the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions, and/or bylaws.
- Any activity that requires statutory or case law analysis to reach a legal conclusion.
In general, it is often safer to speak with an attorney when HOA management feels that a query or action may be beyond their jurisdiction or experience. Additionally, even when a board makes choices with the best of intentions to save the community money, such decisions may end up costing more money in the long term.
For more information on how to best protect your community contact Isaacson Law at (702) 529-2559.