1. What is a homeowners association?
Homeowners associations (HOAs) are organizations which deal with the upkeep of a neighborhood's common areas and establish standards of acceptable behavior for a community. While they all share a common purpose, the level of activity HOAs undertake and other characteristics vary somewhat from case to case, depending on state and local laws and traditions.
Most HOAs are run by a board, which is typically made up of volunteers elected by their fellow owners. Depending on the size of the neighborhood and how extensive a role the board takes, a board may be organized into committees. The board may have officers, with the most common roles being secretary, treasurer, president and vice president.
HOA board meetings typically follow formal rules and set agendas. How well the HOA sticks to its rules of how to discuss issues may vary somewhat, depending on the level of involvement from owners in the community, among other factors. Some matters may need a vote by all the HOA members to decide, while others only require a vote of the board, depending on how it is structured.
2. What major things do our assessment fees cover?
Electric bill for all street lights
Maintain common areas
Administrative fees charged by the management company (Billing, Collections, Disbursements, Accounting)
Insurance that protects the homeowners and trustees ( HOA insurance covers physical damage to shared spaces and general liability if a guest is hurt in communal areas)
Professional services (Lawyers, Website, etc.)
A portion of the fees you pay will be set aside into the HOA’s reserve, which is a savings that can be used for unexpected or irregular expenses.
3. What types of things can homeowner associations regulate?
An HOA's exact responsibilities and powers can be determined by consulting its governing documents, such as the By-laws or Indentures. Parts of these will describe the workings of the HOA itself, but the rest describes what it can do, when and how.
Its authority may cover things like the maintenance and upkeep standards owners are expected to meet as members of the HOA. Part of living in the community typically includes agreeing to keep a home, its lawn and surrounding property in good condition. Rules may limit new construction, so residents likely need permission if they wish to install a swimming pool, erect a fence or build an addition. Standards may apply to driveways, landscaping and other aspects of a property.
**See Stonebridge Manor Indentures page on site for complete and specific by-laws regarding our HOA**