An Educational Guide to the Homeowner Association Industry

December 8, 2020 Ashley Cantwell

Understanding how a homeowner association (HOA) operates, who makes up the board, the management company’s role, who is responsible for establishing the rules, and who is responsible for enforcing the policies and regulations is crucial for not only the board of directors and community members but also the reporters writing stories within the industry.

This post is designed to help educate reporters, homeowners, and current and potential HOA residents on the HOA industry, identify and define key parties, and understand the roles and responsibilities of each party.  

A homeowner association is an organization in a subdivision, planned community, or condominium building that makes and enforces rules for the property and its residents, hires vendors to serve the interests of the association and its members, and assesses fees to support the same.

A homeowner association board of directors is a requirement for a homeowner association to function properly. The board members are residents of the community, elected by their neighbors, and have the authority to govern the association. The board is responsible for ensuring the community’s governing documents are followed and enforced. The board has the authority to hire a management company to assist with daily operations of the community.

An association’s governing documents are defined as the declaration and other documents, such as bylaws, operating rules, articles of incorporation, or articles of association, which govern the operation of the common interest development or association. The powers of the board and the rights of the residents are outlined in these documents. The board and the residents have the ability to amend and/or change them to reflect their community’s preferences and values.

A management company (e.g. Associa)  is hired by the homeowner association board of directors. The management company, under board supervision, works to facilitate the operations of the association and to enforce the community’s policies and regulations as established by the board of directors.

A homeowner association attorney serves as the HOA board of directors’ counsel, advising the board on the best practices and steering it away from liability. Attorneys are also experts at interpreting the specific laws and the HOA’s governing documents, ensuring compliance, and preventing conflict.

Key Takeaways

A homeowner association is a nonprofit legal entity consisting of an elected board and its

property owners.

The homeowner association board of directors consists of elected individuals that own property within the community.

The management company is not the homeowner association (HOA), but rather a service provider hired by the board of directors to enforce the community policies and regulations as established by the board.

The management company has no authority in developing or changing the rules or regulations. Rather, the management company implements the board’s directives in enforcing the policies in the community.

About the Author

Ashley Cantwell

As Associa’s media and public relations director, Ashley Cantwell focuses on the development and implementation of the company’s media strategy and ongoing public relations efforts to support the global brand. Ms. Cantwell has more than 15 years of reputation management and crisis communications experience and has worked extensively with clients to create comprehensive communication plans to support financial and legal strategies.

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