Have Questions About the Community Association Management Services We Provide to Your HOA or Condo? Ask Away!
What does the Association’s insurance cover?
Association insurance coverage differs from one community to the next. The minimum requirements for the Association’s insurance are outlined in the community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) and / or bylaws. However, generally speaking, the Association’s insurance typically provides liability and fidelity coverage for the Association and the Directors and Officers (or Board of Directors). In addition, in a single family subdivision the insurance generally covers Association owned property and operations, such as Association owned parks, swimming pools, club houses, open areas, storm drainage facilities, entry monuments, etc. In an attached condominium or townhome community, coverage generally includes the same things as a single family subdivision. In addition, it generally also includes the buildings, including fixtures and finishes as originally installed by the developer. For specific information on your Association, you should contact your community’s Association Manager.
What does my homeowners insurance need to include?
Your situation will be unique and you should discuss your personal homeowners’ insurance coverage with your agent. You may have specific requirements imposed by your mortgage lender and you should review the insurance section of your community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) and your Association’s bylaws. If you are in an attached condominium or townhome community, you should discuss including a HO-6 endorsement on your policy with your insurance agent. For special requirements for your Association, you should contact your Community Association Manager.
When do I need to get ACC (Architectural Control Committee) Approval for putting in my back yard landscaping?
Most of the time ACC approval is required prior to any work taking place if back yard landscaping installation or modifications involve drainage changes, decks or patios, retaining walls, water features, or elements (including trees) that will be visible over the top of your privacy fence. However, the specific requirements for your community may differ. You should refer to your community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s), adopted Board Resolutions, and Community Rules for more information. In addition, you are always welcome to contact your community’s Association Manager for assistance.
Why are my HOA dues the same as everyone else's when I only have a 1 bedroom unit vs. the townhomes with 3 bedrooms?
The allocation of regular assessments (or HOA dues) is governed by the provisions contained within your community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s).
I live in a single family home. Why is it okay for homeowners to park in the street?
If the streets are owned by the Association, the Association’s Board of Directors is typically delegated the authority to adopt rules and regulations that regulate parking. However, if the streets are publicly owned, the City, County, or State regulates parking. Depending on the situation, unless the body that governs street parking prohibits it, parking is allowed.
I keep paying my monthly fees, but I don’t see anything happening around here.
Your monthly regular assessments (or fees) cover a number of items that may not show any action, including items such as insurance premiums, utility bills, bank fees, postage, copies, audits, legal fees, long term maintenance and capital improvements, and management fees. If there is something you wish to receive clarification on or if you observe something that is in need of attention, please contact your community’s Association Manager with the details.
Will my fees keep going up?
As a rule, you should expect your monthly and / or annual regular assessments to change as costs change. While rising costs for items such insurance and utility costs directly affect your Association, they also indirectly affect your Association because of the impact they have on the companies that provide products and services for your Association as well. It is not unusual for regular assessments to increase each year. As a matter of fact, there may actually be more cause for concern if your regular assessments are not being adjusted to keep pace with increases in costs as Association under funding may lead to significant special assessments in the future.
Why doesn’t the management company alert me when there are security issues going on in my neighborhood?
Most personal security issues do not fall within the responsibilities of the Association or the Association’s Board of Directors. Accordingly, the Association cannot delegate the responsibility for personal security to an Agent (such as a management company). On a rare occasion there may be an exception, but those exceptions usually only occur in very exclusive communities that provide private onsite security personnel. In addition, the Association and management company are not licensed, insured, and bonded to assume responsibility for personal security issues and, as such, may be subject to significant legal liability if they assume any such responsibilities. Personal security is an individual homeowner and law enforcement responsibility.
Can I plant some flowers along the walkway up to my unit?
You should always review your community’s Rules and Regulations and your Association’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) prior to making any exterior modifications to your home. Most of the time, if you are in a single family home and you own and maintain the area where you are contemplating installing seasonal or perennial flowering plants, you may be able to proceed. Flowering shrubs, bushes, and trees almost always require approval before installation. If you do not own the area where you are contemplating installation of some flowers (such as a condominium or townhome), you should check with your community’s Association Manager prior to installation.
What are we doing about people who take up all the parking?
Unassigned parking spaces that are owned by the Association are usually governed by the Association through the Board of Directors. The Board is charged with enforcing parking regulations that may be specified in the community’s governing documents and may adopt additional rules and regulations to regulate parking. If you feel there is a violation, you should record the vehicle description and license number, attempt to observe which home the driver is associated with, and forward the information in writing to your community’s Association Manager.
How can I find out who is on the Board and how to contact them directly?
The best way to contact the Board is through your community’s Association Manager. He or she can include your questions and concerns with those of other residents and present them to your Association’s Board of Directors for discussion and direction. The ability of your community’s Association Manager to group information together on a common subject allows the Board of Directors to be better informed and make better decisions.
Who is supposed to be insuring that my neighbor is following the covenants?
There is no one person who holds this responsibility. Your Association’s Board of Directors has a responsibility to enforce the governing documents of the community. However, the Board of Directors relies on everyone working together to be the eyes and ears of the Board. Observations, questions, and concerns should be sent to your community’s Association Manager. He or she will coordinate any response with the Board.
What do my fees cover?
The assessments you pay to your Association cover the current operating expenses and anticipated future financial obligations of your Association. That may include, but may not be limited to, landscaping maintenance, utilities, insurance, vandalism, facility maintenance, meeting room reservations, legal fees, accounting fees, bank charges, management fees, window cleaning, gutter cleaning, roof replacement, repainting, asphalt sealing, parking area striping, etc.
Who is supposed to make sure my neighbor is obeying the “quiet time” rules?
There is no one person who holds this responsibility. Your Association’s Board of Directors has a responsibility to enforce the governing documents of the community. However, the Board of Directors relies on everyone working together to be the eyes and ears of the Board. Observations, questions, and concerns should be sent to your community’s Association Manager. He or she will coordinate any response with the Board. If it is after normal business hours and the noise is particularly offensive, you should consider calling the local police. If the problem persists, you may have additional rights to relief through a civil court action.
How can I get on the Board so I can make sure we’re not spending too much money?
Serving on your Association’s Board of Directors can be a very rewarding experience. However, the issues the Board of Directors administers reach far beyond not spending too much money and the terms of office are usually for multiple years. Each homeowner is welcome and encouraged to make this sort of commitment to participate in your community. The opportunity will be available at the time of your Association’s annual meeting and may also become available during the year if a Board member resigns. Contact your community’s Association Manager for information on current or upcoming opportunities and to request an application if you feel you might like to serve. If you are specifically interested in the expenses of your Association but are unable to make the commitment at the time to serve on the Board of Directors, another option might be to serve on a budget committee for your Association. Your community’s Association Manager should be able to provide you information on that as well.
Can we put in a community pool? Tennis court? Security Gates?
Technically, almost anything is possible. Since this sort of modification involves placing an initial and ongoing financial burden on everyone in the community, there are a number of activities that need to be undertaken and accomplished before this can happen. They might include: modifying the governing documents for the community, investigations into the feasibility of installing the amenity, researching insurance implications, researching costs, securing permits, obtaining votes of the majority of the homeowners in the community, and possible involvement of mortgage companies that have made loans for home purchases in your community. If you feel there is a strong interest in your community for the addition of an amenity, you should contact your community’s Association Manager to see what might be involved. If you own a home in a single family subdivision and wish to install a swimming pool in your own yard, you should submit for Architectural Control Committee approval prior to beginning work.
I sent my check on the 15th; didn't you see the postmark?
Most Associations require your assessments to be received by the Association (or management company) by the due date. In this case, if the assessment is considered late when it is not paid by the 15th, you need to allow enough mail time for your check to arrive on or before the 15th to avoid penalties. Other options might include signing up for automatic electronic debits from your bank account or prepayment of regular assessments.