FAQs – Residential Homeowner Associations (HOAs)
What is a "management company," what do they do, and how do I reach them?
A management company is contracted by the Board of Directors to provide such services as: collection of assessments, supervision of subcontractors, obtaining bids for subcontracted services, providing financial statements and collection reports. A management company can also serve as an advisor and general clearing house for problem solving and communications with homeowners and the Board of Directors. Our management company, Advanced Property Management or APM, reports directly to the Board and all decisions are made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. You can reach us online through the Contact page on this site.
What is a homeowner's association?
A homeowner's association is a non-profit corporation registered with the State and managed by a duly elected Board of Directors. Its purpose is to maintain all common areas and to govern the community in accordance with the provision of the legal documents: CC&Rs, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation. (The governing legal documents for most associations are available online through the association website.) Membership in the Association is automatic and mandatory for all homeowners, who support the corporation financially through payment of assessments, also know as dues or homeowner association fees.
What are the CC&Rs?
The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are the governing legal documents that set up the guidelines for the operation of the planned community as a non-profit corporation. The CC&Rs were recorded by the County recorder's office of the county in which the property is located and are included in the title to your property. Failure on the part of a homeowner to abide by the CC&Rs may result in a fine to the homeowner by the Association.
What are the Bylaws?
The Bylaws are the guidelines for the operation of the non-profit corporation. The Bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the Board of Directors, the terms of the Directors, the membership's voting rights, required meetings and notices of meetings, and the principal office of the Association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the Association as a business.
What is the Board of Directors?
The Homeowner's Association is a corporation and therefore requires a governing body to oversee its business. The Board of Directors is elected by the homeowners or as otherwise specified in the bylaws. The limitations and restrictions of the powers of the Board of Directors are outlined in the Association governing documents.
Are there other rules?
Typically yes. Most associations have additional rules that are sent to all owners annually and are usually available through the Association website. These rules and guidelines are generally intended to maintain the aesthetic value and integrity of the community on behalf of all owners and help protect the value of property. Violation of these rules on the part of homeowners may result in action by the Board of Directors that could include a fine.
If I am having a problem with a neighbor regarding a violation of the policies and guidelines, what can I do?
If homeowners cannot resolve a situation between themselves they can turn to the Association. If you're involved in a situation that does not appear to be resolved through neighborly means and you're willing to actively participate in the enforcement provided by the Policies and Guidelines, you can contact your Homeowner Liaison. (Contact information for your liaison is available through the Association website.) If the situation involves a violation of the Policies and Guidelines, the Board of Directors will initiate enforcement proceedings. Your continued assistance may be required.
Are board meetings open to all residents? If so, where and when are they held?
Yes, board meetings are open to all homeowners. Notice of the time and place of all regular board meetings are published in the Association newsletter and website.
What is my assessment?
The assessment is the periodic amount due from each homeowner to cover the operating expenses of the common area and to provide for reserve funds for the repair and/or replacement of common facilities in future years. Assessment amounts are published in the Association Budget, which is typically available through the Association website.
Will my assessment go up?
There is no simple yes or no answer to this question. In order to cover increased costs of operating and maintaining the common area and sufficient reserve funds, the Board of Directors may approve increases in budget that could increase your assessment up to the percentage allowed by the Civil Code.
What happens if I don't pay my assessment?
The maintenance and management services incurred by the Association are dependent upon timely receipt of assessments due from each homeowner. Late payments will result in a late charge. The CC&Rs allow the Association to assess late charges and interest and to proceed with a lien on your property and even foreclosure proceedings for nonpayment of assessments.
When do I have to submit an Architectural Change Request form?
Architectural change policies vary from one association to another but in general any exterior modifications require advance review and approval by the Board before project work can begin. All request forms must be submitted and approved in writing before beginning any such project. Most associations make these forms available through the Association website. In most cases, the Board may take up to 30 days to respond to a request, although most requests are processed more quickly than that.
I'd like to remove a tree in my yard. Do I need Board approval?
Tree removals do not require Board approval. However, you must check with the City to find out if you need a permit and to learn about possible restrictions.
"The financial processes and reports that APM has introduced really shine. We're able to track costs on projects and identify savings."
- Robert Abbott
Cresthill Homeowners Association