Key HOA Terms to Remember
If you don’t have any HOA experience, you might be a little confused about the terminology being used. As you become part of the community, you will quickly learn what all the HOA terms mean and how it might apply to you.
To help you learn the terms faster, here are key HOA terms that you are likely to hear if you live in an HOA community.
Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs or Declaration)
One of the most important HOA terms for you to know is Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions. These are the documents that lay out the rules for your neighborhood. Within the CC&Rs, you’ll find all of the rules and regulations applicable to your behavior as a homeowner. Also, parking, snow removal, lawn care, and how to decorate your property will be covered here. When there are more restrictive rules that might pose a concern, such as limits on house colors and flag flying, this is where they will be found.
The community’s common area includes all areas that are not privately owned or owned by the local municipality. It is good to know what a common area is and what is not because generally, the HOA is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of common areas while the homeowner is responsible for maintenance and care of their own individually owned areas.
Assessments are the charges applied against your account or property. This includes any kind of fees or penalties due to the HOA. These types of fee typically include:
- City Services Fees
- Maintenance and Repair fees
- Reserve Funds
- Special fees, Penalties, and Fines for Breaking HOA Rules
HOA Bylaws govern how the HOA is run. They determine things like how often meetings should be held, how rules are made, and how to hold a vote. The HOA bylaws define what the HOA can and cannot do as an organization.
HOA board members are required to act in the HOA members’ best interest while carrying out their HOA duties. This is regardless of any personal relationship or financial obligations to someone that a board member may have.
An open meeting is a meeting that can be attended by both the board members and homeowners of an HOA. Closed sessions with board members are often held to discuss topics such as contracts, discipline, and personal matters.
A quorum refers to the specific number of owners needed to vote for a decision to be legally binding. This number will be laid out in the HOA bylaws.
Community Association Management Company
The HOA hires this type of management company to supervise the care of HOA property. They may collect assessments, handle maintenance problems, and maintain the common areas for the HOA.
Community Association Manager
The community association manager is a representative of the Community Association Management Company. They represent the company when dealing with the HOA and attending HOA meetings. Generally, the association manager will attend to the day-to-day needs of running the community and deal with any issues that may arise.
Final Thoughts on HOA Terms
If you hear some jargon you have never heard before dealing with an HOA, don’t worry. There’s nothing to be intimidated by, and people are generally always willing to help you learn the words’ meanings. Learning the HOA terms will make interacting with your community easier and help you acclimate to your community!
AR Management can help boards with property, fiduciary, and decision management. If your HOA is looking for assistance, contact us today.