What Does HOA Mean and What Are the Benefits?
An HOA or homeowners association is a planned community, an organization that can make and enforce rules, regulations, and laws for the respective property and its occupants. Many people are not aware of what does HOA mean. For example, if you purchase an apartment or property that comes within the HOA’s jurisdiction, you will become a member of the organization. You also have to pay HOA fees as long as you live in that property. Some of the associations have special rules regarding what the members can and cannot do with the property.
Understanding HOA in detail
Many people who are searching for properties ask what does HOA mean. When multiple-unit buildings or single-family homes come together and form a community, they call it Homeowners Association or HOA. As you can understand from the name, HOA consists of the residents of the community. You cannot become a member of an HOA by paying money. Instead, you should buy a property in the community where HOA exists. The association makes rules and regulations about how the residents should treat their houses.
Like most community organizations, an HOA has governors or a board of directors. They get elected by the residents, depending on their seniority and ability to make unbiased and logical laws that would improve the living quality of the community. The HOA will have to describe the rules and laws in detail in a document known as the Conditions and Restrictions and Declaration of Covenants. These documents will contain various conditions that the owner and the residents need to follow.
Some of the conditions and laws that the HOA may come up with are as follows:
• Structural restrictions – there might be strict rules regarding the installation of landscapes or fences around a property. Families may not be able to install a fence if they live in a housing complex or community.
• Painting the house – there might be certain color codes that the residents have to follow when it comes to coloring the exterior of their house.
All the laws and rules are printed and sent to the families under the HOA community. Anyone who doesn’t follow the rules will have to pay severe penalty.
Why HOA is beneficial
HOA is almost like a school principal. The principal is responsible for implementing new rules and regulations in the school. He/she makes sure that the laws improve the studying condition of the children. Similarly, the board of directors or governors of an HOA tries to come up with rules that benefit all the residents in the HOA community. Here are a few more reasons why HOA plays a crucial part in a residential colony:
- Keeps the appearance of the community better
How would you feel if you walk into a residential community with garbage bags lying around in the corners with mosquitoes and bees hovering everywhere? It immediately gives you a stinky feeling. You wouldn’t want to be a part of that community in your life. That’s why an HOA is so essential. Most of their rules and regulations are appearance-oriented. For example, you cannot throw garbage outside your apartment, clean open drains and let the slime stay on the sides for weeks, and so on.
The laws usually try to ensure that there is uniformity among all the houses in the HOA neighborhood. Your home shouldn’t stand out as an exception. That is why homeowners may have to follow a specific color code while selecting the exterior paint. For example, if all the houses have a blue exterior, you cannot select yellow.
- Using common spaces
Those who want to know what does HOA mean should go through a list of regulations from an HOA team. Apart from general guidelines, the board of directors of an HOA also offers different rules that residents need to follow when it comes to using common spaces. For example, you cannot park your anywhere once you are inside the HOA community. Similarly, you also get entitled to use some of the amenities in the organization, such as playing in the tennis court, using the swimming pool, hiring the party space, and so on.
There will be people coming every day to collect the garbage. If it snows, there will be a professional to remove the snow quickly before everyone leaves for work. However, all the residents will have to share the costs equally. This allows the residents to keep their community clean so that no one can complain. Rules are essential, especially when there is a mixed culture living in the same community.
If families have to pay collectively for trash and snow removal, who will collect the money? Those who are not aware of what does HOA mean often ask this question. The homeowners association also selects a few members from the residents who can collect the money every week or month, depending on the law that the board members pass. For example, they select three members from different families to collect $20 from each family every week.
Apart from these service charges, the residents also have to pay HOA fees. Usually, the amount varies between $200 and $400. Some of the high-end communities may charge more. It depends on the location you are staying.
The HOA creates a reserve fund for the association from the fees they collect. The board members will create a bank account named after the HOA community. They will deposit the fees collected from the families every month. This money is often used during emergencies or for renovation purposes. For example, if the fence around the community needs repair or replacement, then the HOA will use the money from the reserve fund instead of collecting additional fees from the families.
Apart from repairs and renovations, the HOA also uses the money for the maintenance of the sidewalks, parking lots, etc. If a family is not able to pay their HOA fees, it will become a challenge to sell the property. They need to clear their dues before putting an ad about their house on sale. These rules help to maintain the peace and security of the residents under the HOA jurisdiction.