+ Why do I have to pay Association Fees?

All owners are required to pay Association Fees by the governing documents of their Association. Owners sign paperwork when they close agreeing that they understand they are subject to all terms of the Association?s Legal documents and what the fees are. The due dates for the fees are established by your Board of Directors. It is typically either annually or monthly, but some Boards establish other due dates. The purpose of the fees is to fund the operation and maintenance of the common property and is used to provide services for the benefit of all owners.

+ What do the Association Fees cover?

Depending on what Common Areas your community has, they typically pay for common area landscape maintenance, repair and maintenance of pools, playgrounds and equipment, and they provide for improvements desired by the Association and for services to the owners. In townhome and condominium developments, they sometimes pay for water and sewer service, insurance on the building, and trash collection. It will also be detailed in your Association’s budget.

+ How do I pay the Association Fees?

Owners may elect to pay their Association Fees via check or have the amount withdrawn from their bank account. Checks must include your account number shown on your coupon book and should be mailed directly to the bank shown on the coupon. Owners may also apply to have their payments withdrawn automatically from their bank accounts. This eliminates the inconvenience of checks, coupons or timeliness of payment.

+ To whom do I make my check payable?

Your check should be made payable to your Association (e.g.; "ABC Homeowners Association" or "XYZ Condominium Association")

+ What does the Association do?

The Association is a non-profit corporation managed by a Board of Directors elected by the owners. The Board is responsible for the management of the Association's funds, the enforcement of the deed restrictions, and the maintenance of common area property.

+ What does a management company do?

The management company is a company that is hired by the Board of Directors. The management company attends to the day-to-day operation of the Association and implements the policies and decisions as determined by the Board of Directors. AMG's sole business is serving Condominium and Homeowners Associations.

+ What is the management company’s authority?

The management company has no authority except as instructed by the Board of Directors. The management company does not make decisions; it implements the decisions of the Board.

+ What are the Governing Documents?

The "Governing Documents" for your Association are the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (or Declaration of Condominium) plus any Rules and Regulations, Resolutions or guidelines that have been established by your Association.

+ Where can I get a copy of the Governing Documents?

You should have received a copy at, or prior to, closing on your home. If you need another set, it is available through your Association and/or its management company.

+ What is a deed restriction?

It is part of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (or Declaration of Condominium) that you agreed to when you bought your home. Through this document, you agreed to certain standards of maintenance, upkeep and behavior in order to make the community as attractive as possible for yourself and your neighbors, and to maintain or enhance your property values.

+ Why do I need to comply with the deed restrictions?

When you purchase a home in a deed restricted community, you automatically agree to comply with the restrictions then in place or that are properly established. This ensures that the integrity of the community is maintained.

+ Why do I have to get permission for home improvements?

This better ensures that your intended improvement meets your community's standards as set forth in the Governing Documents and avoids the problems that arise from the construction of improvements and the use of colors or styles that conflict with others in your neighborhood.

+ What is the “common area”?

It is the land for the use and enjoyment of the members of the Association. This includes facilities like pools and playgrounds in single family communities and hallways, exercise facilities and building structures in condominium and townhome communities.

+ What does the Association’s insurance cover?

The insurance that your Association maintains is determined by your legal documents. The Association's insurance should always include property and casualty policies for all common area property and equipment. (In condominium and townhome Associations, this can include the entire structure of the building ? again, it will depend on the legal documents.) It also should include Liability and Directors & Officers policies that cover Directors, Committee Members and volunteers working on behalf of the Association.

+ Are there any pet restrictions?

Most condominium Associations and many single family Associations have pet restrictions. Because they can vary widely by community, please review your specific governing documents for the restrictions pertaining to your particular community. In addition to community restrictions, many counties have strongly enforced leash and pet waste laws.

+ What is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?

A Homeowners' Association (HOA) is a legal entity created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a community of homes. It is given the authority to enforce the covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&Rs) and to manage the common amenities of the development. It allows a developer to end their responsibility over the community, typically by transferring ownership of the Association to the homeowners after selling. Generally accepted as a voluntary Association of homeowners gathered together to protect their property values and to improve the neighborhood, a large percentage of U.S neighborhoods where free standing homes exist have an HOA. Most homeowners' Associations are non profit organizations and are subject to state statutes that govern non profit corporations and homeowners' Associations.

+ What is a Community Association?

A community Association is a non-governmental Association of participating members of a community, such as a neighborhood, village, condominium, cooperative, or group of homeowners or property owners in a delineated geographic area. Participation may be voluntary, require a specific residency, or require participation in an intentional community. Community Associations may serve as social clubs, community promotional groups, service organizations, or quasi-governmental groups.

+ What is a Neighborhood Association?

A Neighborhood Association (NA) is a group of residents or property owners who advocate for or organize activities within a neighborhood. An Association may have elected leaders and voluntary dues. Some neighborhood Associations in the United States are incorporated, may be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, and may enjoy freedom from taxation from their home state.

+ What is the difference between a Homeowners Association and a Neighborhood Association?

The term neighborhood Association is sometimes incorrectly used instead of homeowners Association (HOA). Some key differences include: 1. HOA membership is mandatory generally through rules tied to the ownership of property like deed restrictions. Neighborhood Association membership is voluntary or informal. 2. HOAs often own and maintain common property, such as recreational facilities, parks, and roads, whereas neighborhood Associations are focused on general advocacy and community events. The rules for formation of a neighborhood Association in the United States are sometimes regulated at the city or state level. Neighborhood Associations are more likely to be formed in older, established neighborhoods, whereas HOAs are generally established at the time a residential neighborhood is built and sold. In some cases, neighborhood Associations exist simultaneously with HOAs, and each may not encompass identical boundaries.

+ What is Association Management?

Association management is a distinct field of management because of the unique environment of Associations. Associations are unique in that the 'owners' are dues-paying members. Members also govern their Association through an elected Board or other governing body, along with Association committees, commissions, task forces, councils and other units. Typically, the Board selects, retains and evaluates a chief executive officer or an executive director who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Association and paid staff. Managers within the association environment are responsible for many of the same tasks that are found in other organizational contexts. These include human resource management, financial management, meeting management, IT management, and project management. Other aspects of management are unique for Association managers. These include: membership recruitment and retention; tax-exempt accounting and financial management; development of non-dues revenue and fundraising. Association managers must also be familiar with laws and regulations that pertain only to Associations. To attain the knowledge needed to effectively operate in Association management, its practitioners may choose to pursue the CMCA.

+ What is an Association Management Company and what do they do?

A property management entity contracted by a Board of Directors or community to provide a variety of services including but not limited to collecting assessments, sub-contractor endeavors, financial advisement and statement/reports preparation and analysis, general maintenance and problem resolution, and advisement on legal and other property related matters. Some of these companies manage hundreds of properties simultaneously, while others focus on individual properties.

+ Does my community have an Association Management Company, and if so, how do I contact them?

If your community is not self managed, the Association Management's contact information can be located on the website, and most Association Management companies have contact information listed on their company websites or in the phone book. Generally, a management company can be contacted online or by telephone, by community or Board members, or individuals whose communities are seeking a management company for representation.

+ What is the “Manager”?

A Manager is a person or entity hired specifically to assist the Board of directors in enforcing the documents and managing the assets, funds, and interests of the Association.

+ What is a Proxy?

An individual appointed to act or vote on behalf of another person by representing them at a meeting of the Association. The title can also refer to the written piece of paper granting that power.

+ What is a Quorum?

A Quorum is defined as the minimum number of owners required to hold an official meeting of the Association. The number of owners required can vary greatly according to the corresponding Association's governing documents.

+ What is a Recuse?

The act of initiating a Recuse involves the temporary removal of an Association member or Board member, or the act of disallowing his or her participation in a particular vote or proceeding.

+ What is a Board of Directors?

In relation to an HOA, Community or other formal organization, a director is an officer charged with the conduct and management of its affairs. The directors collectively are referred to as a Board of directors, and are generally elected or appointed. Sometimes the Board will appoint one of its members to be the chair, making this person the President of the Board of Directors or Chairman.

+ How do I contact my Board of Directors?

If your community has a Board of Directors, contact information, meeting times, minutes, and other information can be obtained through checking the Board information area of your website.

+ What is CAI?

Founded in 1973, CAI is Community Associations Institute, a national and chapter-based membership organization dedicated to fostering successful common-interest communities. In addition to state and national legislative advocacy on behalf of Associations, CAI provides education, tools and resources to those who govern and manage Association-governed communities. CAI members include Association Board members and other homeowner volunteer leaders, community managers, Association management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to Associations, such as attorneys, accountants and reserve specialists. CAI is committed to being the worldwide center of knowledge and expertise for people seeking excellence in Association operations, governance and management. Visit or call (888) 224-4321 for more information.

+ Is CAI a national organization or are they local to my area?

CAI is a national organization with almost 60 local and state chapters. CAI members enjoy automatic membership in the chapter of their choice. Find a CAI chapter in your area.

+ What are CC&Rs?

The term CC&R refers to 'Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions.' A real covenant is a legal obligation imposed in a deed by the seller of a home and or property upon the buyer of the real estate to do or not to do something. Such restrictions frequently 'run with the land' and are enforceable on future buyers of the property. Examples might be to maintain a property in a reasonable state of repair, to preserve a sight-line for a neighboring property, not to run a business from a residence, or not to build on certain parts of the property. Many covenants are very simple and are meant only to protect a neighborhood from homeowners destroying trees or historic things or otherwise directly harming property values. Some can be more specific and strict, outlining everything a homeowner can do to the exterior of their home, including the number of non-familial tenants one may have, acceptable colors to re-paint the home, exactly when holiday decorations are allowed up, automobile placement or repair on property, satellite placement, etc.

+ What are ByLaws?

A set of rules or guidelines regarding the operation of a non-profit corporation such as a Board. Bylaws generally set forth definitions of offices and committees involved with the Board of Directors. They can include voting rights, meetings, notices, and other areas involved with the successful operation of the Association.

+ What are Governing Documents?

The declaration, bylaws, operating rules, articles of incorporation or any other documents which govern the normal operating procedures of an Association.

+ What is a Lien?

A monetary claim levied against a property for unpaid mortgage, taxes, contractor work, or other charges. A lien is attached to the property, not the owner, but legally must be recorded in the property records of the county of residence. If a Lien is in place, the property owner has very limited ability to do anything involving the property until the Lien is satisfied or removed.

+ What is the Declaration?

The Declaration is sometimes referred to as the master deed, documents, or declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions [CC&Rs]. It describes an owner's responsibilities to the Association which can include payment of dues and assessments as well as the Association’s various duties to the owners. It is common viewed as somewhat of a constitution of the Association. The person or group of persons who either signs the original declaration governing the development and Association or acquires the original developer's rights is referred to as the "Declarant."

+ What is an Estoppel letter?

An estoppel letter is used in a transfer or conveyance of real property prior to the Closing transaction. The document is sent to a bank (or other lender), to an HOA (or Condo Association), to a city/municipality, or a tenant requesting payoff of a mortgage, assessments or taxes due, or rental amounts due on a lease, to incorporate these amounts into the Settlement Statement for the buyer and seller of the real estate. Assessments and payments due must be incorporated into the amounts due at Closing and paid at the time of the Closing. Some amounts may be pro-rated, but all must be included in the Settlement Statement. The estoppel letter is the document that facilitates this process.

+ What is an Easement?

An interest or a right in real property which grants the ability to a landowner to use the land of another for a special purpose or endeavor. An Association may for example have an easement for slope maintenance or other repair purposes. A public utility may also have an easement for maintenance or repair work to be executed at a future date.

+ What is a Notice of Noncompliance?

Similar in essence to a lien, the Notice of Noncompliance is a document sometimes authorized under the CC&Rs and may be recorded in the county property records. It's essential purpose is to notify prospective buyers that the property is in violation of the documents.

+ What is a Common Area?

Any area of improved real property intended for shared use by the members of an Association.

+ What are Ordinances?

An Ordinance is an individual or set of laws adopted by local government at the county and city level.