Ask the HOA Expert: HOA Know How

When you purchase into a homeowner association (HOA), you automatically become a member and obligate yourself to financially support the operation and obey the rules. That said, few buyers take the time to examine the information to make an informed decision. Here are some of the basic Know Hows: HOA Fees. As a member of…

Ask the HOA Expert: Mushroom Meetings

Some homeowner association (HOA) boards have been accused of using the Mushroom Method in dealing with members: “Keep them in the dark and feed them manure”. Board meetings are held to address important business and should be open to the members. It only makes sense. Doing business behind closed doors only breeds suspicion. However, there…

Why Get Involved?

Q. I have lived in my community association for a number of years. Unlike the horror stories we occasionally read about regarding bad Boards or illogical enforcement of covenants, our community seems to be working fine. We have a good board of directors and a competent manager. One of our long time board members plans…

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…

Housing Counsel: The Future of Community Associations

What do drones, copyrights and mold have in common? According to USI Insurance Services, a national insurance company with over 150 offices throughout the country, these are some of the emerging trends that associations are – or will be — facing in the years to come. They all impact the financial well-being – and 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.…