FAQs

There are usually several questions surrounding management companies and their roles within the associations with which they partner. Our goal is to provide the members of our communities with the resources they need to better understand the relationship of the association and the management company.

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COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT BASICS

What Is A Homeowner Or Condominium Association?


Anytime there are common elements shared by all residents there is an entity created (the association) to ensure these areas are properly maintained. Not all associations are created equally and there are a few different types of associations with a varying degree of common elements. Some neighborhoods have a simple entrance sign and minimal landscaping, others have clubhouses, tennis courts, and swimming pools. There are also instances where the association maintains residences such as condominiums or attached single family homes. Condominiums often include the physical features of the building itself, such as the roof, walls, gutters etc. Because the community as a whole “owns” these elements, the community as a whole is responsible for the maintenance of those elements, as well as any necessary insurance. Attached single family homes (cottages, villas, townhomes, etc.) can operate as a “condominium” where most of the structure is maintained by the association, or it can be “fee simple.” Fee Simple means that the building or structure is the responsibility of the individual owner.To make matters even more confusing, some townhomes are partially “fee simple” meaning some of the elements are covered others our not. A homeowner might need to address a gutter issue, but the roof might be common. As you can imagine, all these variations across communities do not make understanding the rules very easy for the homeowners.




Is An Association A Buisness?


Simply put, yes. Whether it is a condominum or homeowner association, they are setup and operate as "not for profit" businesses. All associations should be registered with the Secretary of State and the officers are generally listed there as well. Most of the responsibilities of operating a business need to apply to operating the association: budgeting, collecting on delinquent accounts receivable, long-term planning or forecasting, and ensuring the members of the association adhere to the restrictive covenants.




What Is A Board of Directors?


A board of directors is a group of homeowners (just like yourself) who volunteer their time and energy to operate the day-to-day business of the association. They have been elected by the homeowners at large to uphold and enforce the governing documents of the association. They have a fiduciary, legal, and ethical obligation to due so.




What Is An Advisory Board?


Many developers will create an "Advisory Board" during the construction phase to help know the concerns of the community. Often times this is done when construction is nearing an end. This process can be used as a training process for the Advisory Board to learn how to be a Board of Directors if they are new to the process. The Advisory Board has no formal power, and the developer does not have an obligation to create one, but their existence does help through the construction phase and makes for a smooth transition to a board controlled association.




Why Have A Management Company?


Just like running a business, operating the day-to-day functions of the association is a full time job. Remember your Board of Directors are volunteers, many of which have a full time job outside of their duties as board members. The collection of dues, and paying the association bills can take time far beyond what many people can provide. In addition, most boards understand that their knowledge of property management is limited and seek an advisor with more expertise and experience. Perhaps, the most important thing a management company can be is a neutral thrid party to address issues that would otherwise involve one neighbor confronting another. Board members serve terms and will live in the neighborhood long after a violation is resolved, and it is important that everyone can enjoy their home without points of contention.




What Is The Goal Of The Community Management Company?


Although our role does require us to send violation letters and oversee the collection process with delinquent accounts, our ultimate goal is truly to improve the lives of those who live in our communities. We strive to enhance your community and the investment in your home through partnership with your elected board members.

We strive to be viewed as a partner not only with the board of directors, but with the homeowners as well. We believe in strong management that is grounded in transparency. This normally results in a community that is financially sound and residents who enjoy a better quality of life with a well maintained and thriving property.





NEIGHBORHOOD OPERATIONS

Are All Covenants & By-Laws The Same?


While there are similarities, the answer here is no. This can cause frustration if a homeowner has lived in an association previously and moves to a new community and mistakenly believes they already know the rules. Whether it is the restrictive covenants, by-laws, or board created rules and regulations, many things can be different from association to association.




How Can I Be Sure I Am Not Violating The Covenants As A Homeowner?


The best thing you can do as a homeowner is to simply read the restrictive covenants and community rules and regulations. Often times there are section headings in the restrictive covenants that will inform you on the section below; look for things like Architectural or Design Guidelines or Use Restrictions.




Can The Association's Governing Documents Be Changed?


Similar to the U.S. Constitution, the documents can be "amended" if a large enough portion of the community votes to make the change. Every association has different requirements for what constitutes a large enough portion of the membership, but typically it is around two-thirds of the membership. This information is normally found in the community By-Laws.




What If I Do Not Agree With A Board's Decision That Affects Me Directly?


Whether it was a decision made in regards to architectural modifications, violations, leasing, fining, etc., many association covenants outline an appeals process for the board to reconsider based on your particular needs. It is recommended you reference your association documents to check for this provision.





ASSESSMENTS & FEES

What Is An Association Assessment?


Commonly referred to as dues or maintenance fees, they are collected from each homeowner and are the income with which the association pays for its expenses.




What Is A Special Assessment?


Similar to the association assessment or dues, this is a one-time charge charged to all homeowners that is usually earmarked for an unexpected expense and often times is temporary to avoid a large increase in the association assessment. Some associations require the membership to vote to approve the special assessment. As always refernce the governing documents for your specific association.




Can The Property Management Company Raise My Dues?


No. The management company does not have any authority in decisions made in your association. The board of directors through a majority vote is the entity that makes adjustments to the dues charged to homeowners.




How Much Can The Board Of Directors Raise My Dues?


Each association as specifications in the By-Laws surrounding the amount the Board of Directos can increase the dues charged to homeowners. Some have not limits while others limit to a certain percentage. We encourage homeowners to reference their governing documents if they are concerned with an upcoming dues increase.




What Can Happen If I Do Not Pay The Assessment And/Or Follow The Community Rules?


Because rules preserve the value of your neighbor’s property as well your own, many covenants allow for strong penalties, including daily fines, if homeowners do not pay or do not comply with the rules. For non-payment, covenants can allow a late fee and interest to be charged and the account can be turned over to a collection agency and/or an attorney. A lien can be placed on your home as well as a lawsuit being filed. Voting rights and amenities access can also be suspended.

In communities with private streets, the association can block gate access, tow cars, and so on. Not following the rules set forth by the governing documents can lead to fines which is some cases have added up to thousands! Non-payment can result in legal fees of thousands of dollars as well.