NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.
Should You Hire a Manager?
Most HOAs Have Community Management Companies (Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jan. 15, 2022)
“In many states, such as in Nevada, most associations are managed by a community management company, whose staff members are either supervisory, community or provisionary managers, who must be certified by their state real estate divisions. Under current Nevada law, the management company is not required to have an association license, only the community managers are required to have licenses.”
Rules and Expectations of Managers and HOA Board of Directors (Keystone, Sep. 28, 2021)
“The HOA board and the HOA management company are two separate entities. The homeowners association board is comprised of elected volunteers who own property in the community and usually live there. The HOA management company is an outside vendor contracted by the homeowners association.”
20 Questions to Ask an HOA Management Company (Cedars Management)
This guide from Cedar Management Group provides 20 questions to ask a possible HOA management company. Don’t forget to ask about their fee structure, if they are licensed and insured, and their response time. To make sure they are the right fit for your association, ask about their mission statement and their philosophy on managing emergencies.
HOA Basics & Governing
What is a Homeowners Association, or HOA? (Bankrate, Apr. 4, 2022)
“The term HOA stands for homeowners association. A community that’s governed by an HOA can consist of individual houses, townhouses, high-rises or condos, often within a planned community. The responsibilities of the HOA can vary based on property type — for a condo development it may oversee management of the entire property, for instance, whereas for a townhouse community, it may only be in charge of common areas.”
What to Know About Homeowner Associations (The Balance, Nov. 29, 2021)
“Finally, talk to the people who live there. Pull into the parking lot or garage in the late afternoon when homeowners are coming home from work. If they hate the homeowner association, they will tell you in no uncertain terms what is wrong with it. Better to find out the sentiment and reasons behind it before you buy than afterward. HOAs have the power to regulate and monetarily penalize owners for violations like never before, so make sure you completely understand what you are buying into before you sign on the bottom line.”
9 Things to Know About Homeowners Associations (Investopedia, May 14, 2021)
According to Investopedia, here are 9 things to keep in mind when getting involved with a HOA: fees from one HOA to the next vary widely, services and amenities also vary, additional fees may apply, HOA fees are taken into consideration when applying for your mortgage, take a look at the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) in writing, prepare for conflict management, find out if your HOA has a reputation, make sure the previous owners of your unit complied, and make sure insurance is sorted.
HOA Special Assessment: What is it and How to Handle it? (Rocket Mortgage, Feb, 27, 2022)
“HOA special assessments are usually only charged in the case of unforeseen emergencies when the community needs major repairs and are separate from typical HOA costs like regular dues and planned HOA assessments. Unlike other costs, special assessments usually fall outside the HOA’s yearly budget – potentially by a lot. If you’re part of a HOA community, you will likely be required to pay for special assessments when they come up, despite the fact that they were not planned.”
Who Collects Condo and HOA Fees and Assessments? What Happens to the Money? (AXELA Condo & HOA Collections, Jan. 5, 2022)
“Since most Associations are non-profit corporations, the money collected from home and unit owners’ fees and assessments are used to pay for the current and future expenses of the Association. Everything from trash removal to insurance premiums to payroll to lawn and grounds maintenance gets paid for from Association members’ HOA fees and assessments. Future expenses, too, are funded through contributions to the Reserve Fund, an interest-bearing account set aside for expected future expenses. The concept is that tomorrow’s expenses are funded with today’s contributions.”
Appropriate Steps to Take When Collecting Assessments from Delinquent Condominium and HOA Homeowners (CMDA Attorneys at Law, Jan. 29, 2021)
First things first, all HOA boards should have a clear policy regarding delinquent dues and assessments. Members should know exactly what will happen if they miss a payment, and how action will escalate. CDMA provides the example of a 10-day grace period, followed by a late fee. If the homeowner has not paid in 30 days, a letter should be sent notifying the homeowner that the matter is being turned over to the Association’s attorney. At 45 days, legal counsel should discuss putting a lien on the property.
Getting and Keeping HOA Volunteers (Spectrum Association Management, Sep. 9, 2021)
This article offers five tips for not only obtaining, but keeping, HOA volunteers. Though they are simple, they are important! Get and stay organized, connect and communicate, be clear in expectations, appeal to individual strengths, and say thank you!
HOA Volunteer Projects: Cost-Saving or Liability in Waiting? (Western Law Group LLC, Feb. 26, 2021)
“Even if the volunteers are not being paid for their work, HOAs must be mindful of the potential liabilities that can arise from the physical or mental nature of the undertaken projects. If an HOA allows volunteers to help with some community landscaping, for example, what are the potential repercussions should a volunteer get injured on the job or cause injury to another party? The injured party can sue the HOA for damages, which will be both a lengthy and expensive process. In addition, an injury to a Homeowner or the potential lawsuit stemming from it may hurt the sense of community many HOAs are striving to achieve. Thus, an HOA Board must consider how to protect the Association from such liability if a volunteer is injured or causes injuries to another during a project.“
7 Reasons and Ways to Serve in an HOA (HOA Management, Apr. 30, 2020)
Serving on your HOA Board protects your investment, furthers your real-world education, enhances your resume, allows for creative problem solving opportunities, gives you a reason to socialize with your neighbors, helps you gain recognition, and last but not least – helps everyone out!
HOA Homefront – Time is Almost Up to Remove Illegal Rent Restrictions (The San Diego Union-Tribune, May 14, 2022)
“The first version of Civil Code Section 4741, banning “unreasonable” rental restrictions, became law in 2021, and also originally required HOAs to amend their governing documents to remove such provisions in 2021. The most common restrictions clearly violating that statute are rental caps lower than 25% and required periods of time after purchasing to being renting (most commonly 1 or 2 years). Since the law is not very clear about what is “unreasonable,” it is hard to draw a sharp line between permitted and illegal rental restrictions.”
Colorado HOA Foreclosure Reform Legislation Moves Forward (Pro Publica, Apr. 14, 2022)
“A Colorado House of Representatives committee narrowly voted Wednesday to advance a bipartisan measure aimed at limiting homeowners associations’ powers to file foreclosure cases based on fines for community-rule violations, capping such penalties and increasing due process for homeowners.”
HOA Ruining Your Life? 8 Unenforceable HOA Rules – and How You can Fight Back (realtor.com®, Mar. 19, 2022)
No matter how many letters or complaints you get from your neighbor, some rules are simply not enforceable via HOA. From restricting native plants to not allowing clotheslines, many states have had to put rules in place to slow down complaint-happy neighbors. Remember, all HOA decisions should be made publicly, through due process.
Find Your State HOA Laws (Homeowners Protection Bureau)
Search this portal from the Homeowners Protection Bureau to become more familiar with the Home Owners Association laws in your state.
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
The Homeowners Association Manual (eBook)
The Condo Owner’s Answer Book (eBook)
Homeowners Association and You (eBook)
Working with Your Homeowners Association (eBook)
Community Associations: A Guide to Successful Management (Audiobook, eBook)
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
As a member benefit, the following resources and more are available for loan through the NAR Library. Items will be mailed directly to you or made available for pickup at the REALTOR® Building in Chicago.
Survey: Owners Say HOAs Protect Home Values (REALTOR® Magazine, June 5, 2018)
The Community Association Fact Book for 2017: Comprehensive Association Data and Information (Foundation for Community Association Research, 2017)
Condo & Homeowner Association Board Member Handbook and guide for association leaders (Buffalo Grove, IL: Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, 2011) HD 1377 K84
Community Associations: A Guide to Successful Management (Chicago, IL: Institute of Real Estate Management, 2008) HD 1377 B23
Working with Your Homeowners Association: A Guide to Effective Community Living (Naperville, IL: Sphinx Publications, 2003) HD 1377 C67
Community Associations: The Emergence and acceptance of a Quite Innovation in Housing (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000) HD 1377 S73
Community and Homeowner Association Practice: Community Association Law (Philadelphia, PA: American Law Institute-American Bar Association, 2000) K 740 H99cp
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