Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are there state laws governing community associations?
There are state laws that govern community associations to assure that community associations operate under standard practices to protect the rights of each member/homeowner.
2. Why does our community association need a manager?
For the professional operation of a community association, it is essential that a licensed community management company be hired. The company will assign and a licensed community association manager (CAM) who has the background and experience to successfully guide the association board through the common issues and challenges they face. Typically, the CAM is responsible for: monitoring vendors and contractors; observing residential properties to ensure compliance with community standards; maintaining communication with the residents on behalf of the board members; attending board meetings and posting minutes; and keeping the board members up-to-date on the various issues affecting the association.
3. Why is it important for the residents, who are association members, to attend the association’s annual meeting and board meetings where routing business items are being discussed?
Members of the association have the responsibility to attend the annual meeting to ensure that the quorum requirements are met for transacting association business. The quorum requirements are outlined in the association’s By-Laws and intended to ensure appropriate homeowner representation to conduct business that affects all members of the association. Members have the right to vote on certain association business matters at the annual meeting. At other board meetings, homeowners may not vote, but do have the right to speak to business matters on the agenda.
4. Why is it necessary for residents to submit an architectural change request and obtain approval prior to making changes to their property?
Architectural approval is essential for ensuring that all visible changes are keeping with the community’s standards, aesthetically pleasing, and congruent with the community standards and the Declaration of Restrictions and Covenants. The Community Standards detail the various changes that a homeowner may wish to make to their property that requires architectural change approval. Continued adherence with these standards ensures long-term enjoyment of the community, protected curb appeal, and enhanced property values.
5. Are residents (association members) permitted to access the association’s financial reports throughout the year?
Yes. Although most associations publish/send Annual Financial Reports to members or post the annual report on the association’s website, any association member may request copies of financial reports at any time during the year.
6. What is the process for amending the association’s covenants or community standards?
The association’s covenants and By-Laws will specify the procedure for presenting an amendment to the members to change the association’s covenants. The legal documents containing the required number of member signatures must be recorded in the county in which the association is located and becomes effective upon publishing/distributing the approved changes to the members. The community standards can be modified by the association board of directors. Typically, boards will seek homeowner input before changing the community standards.
7. How do we determine the appropriate amount needed in the association’s reserve account?
Properly funding a reserve account is essential to the association’s fiscal responsibility. Preparing for long-term expenses associated with the maintenance and improvement of association-owned amenities will prevent unexpected special assessments, which typically require association member approval. Long-range budget studies include consideration of the life expectancy of items budgeted for replacement, such as: parking lot/street repaving, roof replacements, painting, pool surfaces, clubhouse structures, HVAC equipment, guard houses, gates, fencing, tennis/basketball court pavements, and other items pertinent to your community.
8. Can a resident, who is an owner, decline membership in the association?
No. Ownership of property within a community association includes automatic membership in the association.
9. Can a member obtain a copy of the association’s restrictive covenants?
You should have received a copy of your association’s restrictive covenants at closing. If you did not, or need another copy, they are typically available online at your association’s website or you can request a copy to view and print by contacting your community association manager.
10. If a resident has a concern, how do they determine whether their concern is considered an association matter.
A resident who has a concern, but who is unsure whether the issue is an association matter, should first discuss the matter with their community association manager. He or she will be able to assist in determining whether the matter is a local law enforcement issue, a public service problem, a resolution between neighbors, or an issue that needs to be addressed by the association’s board of directors or their attorney.