If you buy a condominium, townhouse, or single-family home in a newer development, you’re likely to become a member of a Homeowners Association.
About 20% of Americans live in a community governed by a condo association, homeowners association, or co-op board, according to the Community Associations Institute, which educates volunteer board members and association management professionals. The number of communities covered by associations has grown from about 10,000 in 1970 to more than 333,000 today.
Community associations come with rules that determine everything from the number of pets you can own, to what color you can paint your front door. Some include amenities such as pools, clubhouses, and golf courses, while other provide services such as road maintenance and streetlights.
While horror stories of homeowner associations come up every now and then, the CAI statistics show that 64% of residents are satisfied with their community association experience and 26% are neutral, with only 10% dissatisfied, according to a 2014 survey.
However, the same survey shows that almost a quarter of residents experienced a significant disagreement with their association.
We have compiled a series of HOA tips to help you adjust to central Florida HOA living.
- Know the rules before you move in.
Too few prospective residents understand the rules before they buy or rent. It’s particularly important to be able to live with policies on pets, parking, collection, rentals, noise and architectural guidelines.
- Follow proper procedures.
Boards should set up clear procedures for everything from getting permission to paint your front door to rental applications to installing a satellite dish, and homeowners should expect to follow those procedures.
- Go to your neighbor before you go to the board.
The board is there to make sure the rules and regulations of the development are followed, but if your neighbor’s loud music annoys you, talk to your neighbor first before taking your complaint to the HOA board.
- If you don’t like a rule, get your neighbors together to change it.
Changing circumstances may make some rules outmoded, and boards should review the rules every few years to make sure they’re all serving the community. If you don’t like a rule, talk to your neighbors and petition the board collectively for a change.
- Volunteer to help your community.
It’s not always evident from the outside exactly what work the board of directors is doing and what issues the community faces. Once you move in, volunteer to help with a project or serve on a committee, and expect to serve on the board at some point.
- Try to stay out of court.
Every community has a few people who think the rules don’t apply to them, and some would rather fight than comply. A court battle can be costly, both in money and in emotional turmoil within the community.
- Have a long-range plan.
State laws regarding reserves and planning vary, but it always makes sense to plan for items you know will have to be replaced or repaired, such as roads, roofs and pools. If the community has no reserves and no plan, a roof leak at a condominium complex could mean a surprise assessment of thousands of dollars for each homeowner.
Hopefully you found these HOA tips helpful and therefore making your adjustment to central florida HOA living more seamless. Moving into a new home is exciting, talk to a S&D Real Estate agent today, they are experts in the area and HOA rules and regulations.
Mears, Teresa. “How to Successfully Live Under a Homeowners Association.” U.S. News: Money. N.p., 27 Apr. 2015. Web. 12 July 2016.