Updating an HOA Reserve Study

A reserve study is an indispensable planning tool to schedule major renovation and systematically raise the money to pay for it without the use of special assessments. It is also extremely important to update the reserve study each and every year since there are many moving parts that change each year and impact both the…

HOA Rules Rule

According to the Community Associations Institute, some 50 million Americans live in homeowner association communities. HOAs are quasi-government entities that are responsible for maintaining services and shared amenities plus collecting the mandatory fees to pay for them. They also have the power to enforce architectural standards and rules, much as a government would. These rules…

HOA Plantscaping Done Right

For many homeowner associations, landscaping is a major maintenance and expense item. This is especially true of older HOAs that were built when land was cheaper. That broad expanse of grass may be nice to look at, but it rarely gets much use and costs a bundle to maintain. If your HOA’s landscaping is looking…

The “Ps” of Community Living (Rules Enforcement)

Q. We live in a nice community, but every so often someone breaks one of our rules. Sometimes the infraction is minor — such as washing their car on the public street. Other times, the violation is more serious, such as yelling, arguing and even threatening people. The violators may be unit owners or tenants.…

Ask the HOA Expert: Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Homeowner associations can be hotbeds of discontent, turmoil and conflict at times. Out in the big world, combatants can often successfully just avoid each other rather than deal with the problems. But within the HOA, avoidance is much more difficult and being in conflict with a neighbor can make living there very stressful. Unresolved conflicts…

Architectural Control Committees Serve a Need

Q. We live in a homeowner association and I have just been appointed to the architectural control committee. Some of the homeowners do not want such a committee, and many owners just ignore the process when they make exterior changes. Our declaration of covenants requires advance approval before any such changes or additions can be…

Achieving an HOA Meeting Quorum

It’s five minutes until the Annual Meeting starts. The governing documents require the presence in person or by proxy of at least 25% of the eligible voters to establish a legal quorum. With only 21% of the members so represented, the meeting has to be canceled and rescheduled. This is an all too frequent scenario…

Community Living Rules Enforcement

Question. We live in a nice community, but every so often someone breaks one of our rules. Sometimes the infraction is minor — such as washing their car on the public street. Other times, the violation is more serious, such as yelling, arguing and even threatening people. The violators may be unit owners or tenants.…

HOA Board And Manager Authority

To achieve effective communications between homeowners and their homeowner association, it is important to understand the authority that belongs to the property management company, the board members individually and the board as a whole. For example, the management company may be able to solve a problem quickly while at other times, management may not have…

Crunching The HOA Budget

Fall is the time when most homeowner associations count last year’s costs and crunch next year’s numbers hoping to squeeze blood out of the HOA’s turnip. Often it’s so dry, there isn’t even any turnip juice left much less any O positive. But crunch you must. Here are some of the ways to make the…

There are Different Kinds of Community Associations

A large number of American homeowners now live in a community association. But do you know that there are several different kinds of community organizations, and each has a different set of laws, and different legal structures. Oversimplified, the three main types of community associations are condominiums, cooperatives and homeowner associations. Although all three types…

Ask the HOA Expert: What Is An Executive Session

Question: What is the definition of an “executive session”? Can a meeting begin as an executive session, and end as an open session, or vice versa? Answer: There may be a state statute that defines “executive session”. If so, you need to follow it. If there is not a statute, the board generally is permitted…