What is a Community Association?
A Community Association is a non-profit corporation registered with the State and managed by a duly elected Board of Directors. Its purpose is to maintain all common areas and to govern the community in accordance with the provision of the legal documents: CC&R’s, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation.
All community associations have three features that make them different from traditional homeownership. First, members share ownership of common land and have access to facilities, such as swimming pools, that often are not affordable any other way. Second, when someone buys a home in a community they automatically become a member of a community association and typically must abide by covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Third, the association can charge an “assessment” (a regular fee, often monthly, that is used for upkeep of the common areas and other services and amenities).
The association may have one of a variety of names: homeowners association, property owners association, condominium association, cooperative, common interest community, or council of co-owners. To simplify matters, they are all frequently referred to using the umbrella term, community association or CA.
What are the Advantages of Community Association Living?
Neighborhoods with a Community Association often have an attractive combination of well-designed homes and landscaped open spaces. Clubhouses, parks, pools and other amenities are often part of the community common areas. Community members can enjoy community facilities that may have been unaffordable individually. Further, the individual does not have to be directly responsible for maintenance. The Community Association operates and maintains the shared facilities.
What are Member Responsibilities?
Each homeowner pays, through the association fees, a share of the expenses and, as an association member, has a voice in the association’s decisions. Associations typically elect a board of directors from their members to make the strategic management decisions for the association’s future and direct the Association Managers in carrying out the daily operations and business of the association. Typically association boards meet as needed during the year and the association has an annual meeting to select new board members or vote of important community issues. Volunteer members, on site employees, a professional management company, or a combination of the above usually take care of the daily management requirements of the association.
What is a “management company” and what do they do?
A management company is contracted by the Board of Directors to provide such services as: Collection of assessments, supervision of subcontractors, obtaining bids for subcontracted services, providing financial statements and collection reports, as well as a general clearing house for problem solving, communications with homeowners and the Board of Directors and to serve in an advisor capacity. The management company reports directly to the Board and all decisions are made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.