FAQs About Community Associations

Community associations help strengthen connections within an area by managing common areas and getting homeowners engaged in social activities. They work to improve the quality of life within the neighborhood and provide residents with a sense of community. With the many time-consuming responsibilities involved, some associations work with a community association management company to keep the group functioning smoothly. Here are several FAQs about community associations:

What Is a Community Association?

A community association is a group of individuals that lives and serves within a specific community in a designated geographic area. The association is there to offer operational structure, guidance, and management services to the overall community. Their duty to the community is to manage disputes, take care of financial responsibilities, and make and enforce community rules.

At the community level, the association refers to a board of directors responsible for the everyday management of community affairs. If board members become too busy and are unable to deal with the community tasks that arise, the board can appoint a community association management company to help. The management company can offer access to professional services like financial, legal, and advisory services. Issues within the community can be addressed effectively and promptly with the assistance of a community management company.

What Types of Housing Are Run by Community Associations?

Community associations are mostly found in planned communities and cooperatives. They can be established in neighborhoods with mid-rise and high-rise estates, large-scale communities, condominiums, active adult communities, and single-family homes. Townhouse neighborhoods and condominiums can form associations in places with mixed housing types. A community association can also be incorporated, meaning it can own the common property or take care of it on behalf of a developer or another party considered the owner.

What Things Can a Community Association Regulate?

Every community is different, and the things an association can try to regulate are particular to the neighborhood. Community associations can regulate activities impacting the neighborhood’s private areas and shared amenities. Many communities usually welcome this because it’s aimed at maintaining a certain level of functionality and uniformity. Some community associations are strict regarding what residents can do and the look of the homes. Others require owners to maintain the outside area of their homes regularly. Community associations can also organize activities and events to promote engagement and social interaction among residents. These events aim to foster relationships and build a sense of community between neighbors.

How Do Community Associations Enforce Rules?

Community associations create rules and regulations that get supported and, to some extent, limited by local and state laws. Becoming a member of the association entails getting into a legally binding contract. If the association’s governing documents comply with the set laws, the court can support their actions in case of any issue. Community associations write the official rules in a binding document, though the rules can sometimes be changed through the same procedure or a member vote. There is recourse in case a specific bylaw or restriction seems unfair.

The association’s disciplinary actions are typically accompanied by fines. Serious cases can extend as far as liens on the home. Any violation or late payment gets a polite reminder by email or in person. A homeowner may get several warnings before the association takes any further action. If included in the association’s service contract, the community management company may also contact homeowners to assist with rule compliance or remediation efforts.

What Are Community Association Fees and Dues?

Fees and dues are annual or monthly costs each homeowner should pay to live in the organized community. The community association’s fees vary depending on what amenities they provide and where the community is located. General upkeep costs may be included in the fees, as the association is usually responsible for taking care of common areas, such as lawns, walking paths, and parks. Associations can hire professionals to plow parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and sometimes streets after a snowfall. Amenities in the neighborhood, such as on-premise security, fitness centers, or pools, may also be included in the fees. 

A community management company can help associations organize and keep track of their finances. If a large community project is needed, a community association may save a certain percentage of the fees over several years to cover the costs. Management companies can help oversee these funds. The management company can also provide advice and expertise regarding the association’s overall financial goals.

Hire a Reliable Community Association Management Company

Community associations may benefit from assistance with organization, planning, and finances. Choose a community association management company that offers expert guidance and support for homeowners, board members, and community developers. Look for a company that uses state-of-the-art technology and best-practice processes to serve community associations.

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