A Basic Understanding of Homeowner Associations

by Marcela Guajardo


Posted on 2019-10-21 20:17:01


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A Basic Understanding of Homeowner Associations

 

A Homeowner Association (HOA) is the governing body that manages and maintains a community’s common areas, such as landscaping, parking garages, building exterior, and clubhouses. The HOA wants to ensure the quality of life for all the residents in the community and secure the value of the property for the owners. As all property owners in the community are responsible to maintain the common areas, they are charged association fees. If the property is a rental, the lease states who will be responsible for the fees. It may be included in the rent. If the fees are a tenant’s responsibility, it must be clearly stated on the lease before the tenant signs. If these fees are not paid, the HOA can foreclose on the house which means the landlord will most likely want to be responsible.

HOAs have rules that residents need to follow that are called covenants, conditions, and restrictions or CC&Rs for short. These rules are like the ones a property manager sets up for an apartment building. For example, set rules for which kinds of pets you can have in the property, which color the exterior of the house can be, and if the resident can have a satellite dish. There are rules and regulations that are not included in the CC&Rs, and deals with the daily life of the residents. These rules are updated over time based on the community. HOAs also have Bylaws that explain how the HOA will be run, when meetings will be held and other additional operating procedures.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide the CC&Rs and rules to the tenant. This can ben done either by including the documents in the lease or provide them before move-in. The HOA needs all the residents to follow the rules regarding if it is a homeowner or tenant. The landlord is responsible to ensure the tenants are following all the rules and guidelines. Different HOAs may have guidelines that tenants need to follow and the landlord must include them in the lease agreement. Some of the most common is providing the HOA documents in the lease, the HOA has the right to terminate a tenant that consistently violates the rules, and the landlord must provide the HOA a copy of the lease agreement and emergency contact forms.

When a tenant violates one of the rules, the HOA contacts the landlord. From there, it is the landlord’s responsibility to inform the tenants and have them correct the behavior. Any fines issued will be the responsibility of the landlord and not the tenants. The landlord can charge these fines to the tenants if the lease states tenants are responsible. If the tenant continues to violate the rules and disrupts the peace in the community, the HOA may pursue legal action against the landlord. The only time the landlord will not be contacted first is when the tenant has committed a crime or broke a law. In those cases, the HOA will contact the proper authorities.


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