Understanding the HOA Concept

To be effective, a homeowners association needs a strong board of directors that understands its role and pursues it with passion and a concise mission in mind. The following outline provides an overview of board roles and responsibilities.

To form an effective board, directors must have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the association, its history and what is to be accomplished. Every homeowner association should have responsibility for its assets as well as its operation in accordance with standards established by state and federal law, local ordinances, and the governing documents upon which the entity itself was created. To the extent that the association has such authority and control, it is the board of directors that makes certain these responsibilities are fulfilled.

Understanding the homeowners association concept:
The homeowners association is the cornerstone of a planned residential community. It brings continuity and order to the community, it preserves the architectural integrity and it maintains the common elements. Properly run, the association promotes the concept of “community” and protects the neighborhood’s property values. In many cases, it collectively makes available recreational and other facilities that might not otherwise be affordable or available to homeowners and residents on an individual basis.

Deed-initiated homeowners associations have become an essential part of the overall concept of residential property ownership in today’s marketplace. Purchase of a home or lot often brings with it mandatory membership in an association which then provides the structure for operation and management of the residential development. With membership comes certain maintenance obligations, financial responsibilities, and a commitment to abide by use restrictions and other rules of the association. To a degree, it necessitates individual conformity for the good of the whole.

The association’s responsibilities may be limited to basic maintenance functions or they may be expanded to include sophisticated and extensive upkeep of the property as well as delivery of special services to individual homes (e.g. back door trash pickup). To be successful, its officers and directors must uniformly and fairly govern the community, and it must have a reasonable level of participation by each of its members over time.

Board of Directors
The association has responsibility for its common elements as well as the management and operation of the association’s business affairs – – all in accordance with standards established by the governing documents created when the community was first developed. To the extent that an association (typically a non-profit corporation) has such authority and control, it is its board of directors that carries out these duties and responsibilities.

Members of the board of directors of an association serve without compensation unless the bylaws of the association provide to the contrary. The board’s authority includes all of the powers and duties enumerated in general law, as long as these powers are not inconsistent with the provisions of the documents governing the association.

Officers of the Association
The association acts through its officers and agents. The board of directors makes the policies for the association, but the officers and agents carry out these policies and administrative functions for the community. Some of the officers are clerical while others carry out substantive functions based on policies established by the board of directors. All of the officers have an affirmative obligation to act with utmost good faith towards the association and cannot deal in the funds or the property of the association to their own self advantage. Each association typically has a president, secretary, and treasurer and may have one or more vice presidents. However, an association may officially conduct its business with fewer officers than these, depending upon the laws of a given state.

© Association Times
Permission to reprint any of the information contained in this article is granted provided Association Times is credited as the source.