HOA’s and How They Work
Most newer neighborhoods, townhomes (or “attached” housing), and all condominiums have Homeowner’s Associations, but always check to be sure. See our Lesson Is it a Condo, Attached, or Detached Home?
A homeowner’s association, or HOA, is made up of everyone who owns a home in the development. A “board” of directors is elected, and they uphold the rules for the neighborhood. These rules are called “bylaws” or Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and cover things like pet restrictions, rental rules, parking, noise levels, use of common property, etc.
HOA’s may help keep property values high because homes & landscaping are usually required to be kept in good condition.
The board (or management company hired by the board) collects dues from homeowners to pay for certain services. Here are some things that dues may cover:
- Parking areas and driveways
- Exterior building maintenance
- Exterior lighting
- Liability insurance
- Cable TV
Not every HOA pays for all of these things. Every HOA is different so you absolutely must read all of the rules and regulations for the community. For example, you can be fined or even taken to court if you continually violate the HOA rules or fail to pay your dues.
Talk to several residents and ask if they like the HOA and if they have experienced any problems living there.
You should attend meetings of the HOA so you can hear what is being taken care of and planned for the community. If you don’t like a rule or something that is happening in the community, you can bring it up at the meeting and follow the procedures they have in place. Dues are set by the HOA, so the best way to have control is to get involved by being on the “board.”
If an HOA hasn’t budgeted for major fixup expenses, they can assess each owner $1000’s of dollars to cover repairs. Get copies of their financial reports and meeting minutes to review for problems.
Thinking of buying a home in the Portland, Oregon area? Checkout our First Time Home Buying Classes!What's a Homeowner's Association? ,
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