People choose to purchase a property in a community association for a variety of reasons, and such a decision has benefits and drawbacks like any other, big or small. If you do decide to purchase a property in a community association, you’ll automatically find yourself a member, and therefore subject to the same rules and regulations that everyone else in the community abides by.
Who manages the process of regulating the community, though? The community’s homeowner’s association, or HOA.
An HOA is a governing body whose entire purpose is to help manage the community in a way that benefits everyone. This management can take a variety of formats, including preservation of architectural integrity to ensure that property values do not depreciate, and making sure that the HOA complies with state law, among other things. The HOA has ultimate responsibility for governing the community, but typically the extent of an HOA’s powers come from the documents that formed it, which include the bylaws, articles of incorporation, all covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), and the daily operating rules.
Every HOA body has a number of people that make up the association. Since the HOA is technically a kind of corporation, they have a board of directors that are primarily responsible for all aspects of its management, as well as others who help the organization run smoothly.
The number of people who serve on the board can differ between different communities, but there are some roles that remain consistent across all HOAs:
The president is the leader of the board of directors, and consequently the entirety of the HOA. As the leader, a good HOA president would have an in-depth knowledge of the governing documents of the organization, as well as how to administer effectively. The president’s responsibilities include managing community meetings, maintaining order in the meetings, and appointing people to serve on different committees as dictated by the by-laws.
The vice president is essentially a double of the president; the person holding this position is largely responsible for assuming the duties of the president when the president is unable to do so, which may seem like an easy job, but actually requires the person who holds the position to be just as knowledgeable as the president in terms of the HOA’s governing documents, procedures, and how to manage the entity as a whole.
The treasurer holds the purse strings of the HOA: whoever holds this position is responsible for managing financial records, paying vendors used by the HOA, and collecting dues from HOA residents. This position is an important one because failing to manage accounts properly, pay vendors on time, or ensure that residents are paying their dues could have a large impact on the community as a whole.
The HOA secretary serves as the primary record keeper of the organization. From taking minutes during community meetings to maintaining association records to managing HOA correspondence, the secretary’s role helps primarily with the secretarial tasks associated with the HOA, but also serves to keep a history of the operations of the organization.
It may seem obvious, but the HOA resident is a position held by every homeowner in the association by virtue of their owning property in the development. While there may not be any formal responsibilities associated with being an HOA resident beyond ensuring personal compliance with the rules and regulations of the association and paying dues on time, it’s worth noting that the board of directors derive their power from the HOA resident.
The board consists of volunteers from the HOA community who are elected by their neighbors; this means that anyone has the ability to serve as the HOA president, vice-president, treasurer, or secretary, and that every member has the responsibility of holding their board accountable.