What is a homeowner association? Can property managers help with homeowner association management?

A homeowners association (HOA) is a legal entity created to maintain the common interests of a community. According to the Community Association Institute, ?about 6,000-8,000 new community associations are formed every year.?1 Whether it be a neighborhood of single family homes, a building of condominiums or a community of townhomes, HOAs ensure the upkeep of the quality and value of the properties and quality of life within the community.

Homeowner associations govern neighborhoods, planned communities, condominiums and the like, and ensure that the rules, regulations and services the association has created are all running smoothly for the residents. Homeowner association management oversees tasks like these: managing common areas of the community like parks, clubhouses, pools, landscaping and roads; maintaining and enhancing property values; and organizing activities for area residents to foster a sense of community. The associations also often set rules to be followed in order to protect the interests of the residents as a whole. These rules can be as general as keeping yards tidy, to as stringent as dictating the acceptable colors to paint houses, noise control, use of common areas, and other restrictions. In order to provide these services and enforce these rules, homeowner associations charges monthly dues to cover costs. Fees can range from $20 per month to hundreds per month depending on the property in question and the amenities provided.2

Homeowner association management is generally taken on by a board of elected community members. For smaller associations, the elected boards are volunteers, and handle all issues of maintenance, providing services and enforcing rules themselves. However, for larger communities, it is necessary to hire a professional manager or management company to oversee the duties and tasks the board has set forth. With experience in the requisite administrative, financial and legal tasks, a hired association manager is trained to handle all aspects of the community"s upkeep on a daily basis.

Essentially, a homeowner association manager takes over the responsibilities of the board and oversees duties including: the maintenance of common areas like landscaping and improvements; budgeting and assisting with the development of governing documents; enforcing association rules and regulations within the community; carrying out the development goals of the board; acting as the liaison for work orders and maintenance; and being the point of contact for the city, contractors and developers. Sometimes the manager can also be brought on as a leader to help a new or inexperienced board establish goals and projects for the community. In having a permanent professional manager, it leaves the board free to make decisions while an experienced professional oversees the day to day tasks and projects.

Association management whether by volunteers or experienced industry professionals is fast becoming integral to the success of new communities. In providing for the best interests of the community, it allows homeowners another resource for maintaining the value of their investments and improving their quality of life.

1About.com:Phoenix. Accessed January 21st, 2009.:
2About.com:Phoenix. Accessed January 21st, 2009.:
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