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Homeowner Associations (HOA)

A homeowners association (HOA) is an organization created to govern, manage, and control certain aspects of and activities within a particular housing complex or development. This may include condominiums, cooperative apartments, townhouses, a development of homes, and gated communities.

The main functions of a homeowners association is to enforce Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) within the development, collect the required monthly dues, and keep records of all financial activities. Most HOA's are set up as non-profit corporations with an elected board of directors that consist of volunteer homeowners.

Bylaws are set up as a governing tool that require mandatory membership for all homeowners within the development. Monthly dues are required and the HOA has the authority to assess each homeowner periodic special assessment fees that are used to pay for repairs and the enhancement of the property. Membership in the homeowners association is usually a prerequisite of purchasing a property within the development and the buyer is not given an option to opt out of paying the monthly dues.

The HOA maintains the common areas within the development that include swimming pools, clubhouses and other recreational facilities, the landscaping of common areas, sidewalks, streets and parks, hiking trails if they are located within the development and are a part of the developments' responsibility. Some HOA's in condominium complexes are responsible for roof maintenance, the general upkeep of the exteriors, termite and pest control, and noise abatement.

An HOA may also have the authority to enforce certain rules established in the bylaws such as requiring homeowners to install and maintain landscaping on their individual properties, and the use certain colors of paint for the exteriors of their homes. The HOA may also require notification before room additions are made on individual properties by the homeowners.

The HOA usually has the authority to issue warnings and fines for certain infractions that are covered in the bylaws. The enforcement may be in the form of letters to the residents, the levying of fines, and legal action through the courts under civil law, if necessary.

An HOA may be empowered to provide security for the residents within the complex that includes mobile security patrols, manned guard houses at entry gates, and the installation and maintenance of security cameras.

The HOA organizes and holds regular meeting for the residents of the complex, appoint corporate officers, and creates subcommittees to handle the day to day activities within the community. A well organized HOA can offer positive benefits to the residents who live within the boundaries of the development.

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