Living in a community governed by a homeowners association (HOA) can have both benefits and drawbacks. In this blog post, we'll explore both sides of the coin to help you decide whether or not living in an HOA is right for you.
Living in any community means there are rules to follow. The police enforce the law by writing tickets, issuing warrants, or making arrests. Schools enforce policies for students by taking away recess, sending them to speak with the principal, or giving extra tasks to do. There are also rules when you live in a homeowners association. How strict or lenient these HOA rules can be is unique to each association, but there’s one thing all HOAs should have in common: enforcement of the rules.
‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and people love the convenience of ordering online. Avoiding the crowds and shopping from the comfort of your couch is an easy and appealing way to save time and get your gifts ordered all in one place. Whether you’re having your items shipped to your house or sent directly to the recipient, this day and age homeowners need to be on the lookout for individuals who steal packages from properties - also known as "porch pirates."
People seem to have a love-hate relationship with homeowners associations. More often than not, the people that love them respect and feel protected by rules, and the people that hate them don't like the rules - these are also the people who are usually violating the rules.
When a member is violating the HOA rules, do HOAs have the ability to enforce the rules by fining the member?
In a homeowner's association, members pay their assessments, and those assessments are divided between operating and reserve accounts. That money goes to pay for the upkeep of common area components in an association. Individual board members should not have access to those funds.
The idea isn't that an individual or small group would profit from the assessments being paid, but rather that all members would collectively benefit because that money's being used for the common good of the entire homeowner’s association.
One of the hottest topics when it comes to HOA rules has to do with displaying the American flag. Typically, the issue isn’t whether the flag can be displayed – your right to display the American flag is protected by Federal law – but rather how the flag is being displayed. And it’s this issue that has a homeowner in Alabama determined to keep her flagpole in the ground. Check out the following news story.
Many HOA board members get into trouble due to not understanding the operating fund and reserve fund in a homeowners Association. If these two funds aren’t properly maintained, a Board can unintentionally cause the Association to fail financially. Therefore, it’s crucial that Boards understand how to correctly use the operating fund and reserve fund.
Groups that are run by volunteers that handle money are particularly vulnerable to fraud, embezzlement, illegal activities, and scams. HOA boards are no exception. Access to funds is a temptation that some cannot resist.
Homeowners associations are like little governments. They have an HOA board of directors that govern and oversee the association and that Board does have some powers. But where does the Board get these powers and authority to enforce their documents and rules?
Are your HOA board members able to handle the load of managing your homeowners association, or do you need a professional? This is a great question to be asking and there are a few factors to consider. If your board can handle some of the responsibilities but doesn’t want to take on all that needs to be managed and get done, then you may consider splitting the work between your volunteers and outside professionals.