What is an Association
Community associations are created to provide exclusive benefits to the owners within a specific real estate development. The responsibilities may vary with each community and are by the desires of the association members and their elected Board of Directors.
A community association's specific duties and responsibilities are found within its unique governing documents. These governing documents typically consist of:
Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (also called a Declaration; Covenants; CC&Rs; or Master Deed). Creates the community association, contains the deed restrictions, and establishes mandatory membership and payment of assessments.
Articles of Incorporation. Set forth the structure and essential governance of the corporate body.
Bylaws. Defines how the association will be operated.
In general, the duties and responsibilities of a community association consist of any combination of the following six areas:
Common Areas. Community common areas can be as little as a sign and median strip at the front entrance to a small single-family home community, to as large as a planned community of thousands of homes that contain extensive green space (parks, trails), recreational facilities (marinas, clubhouses, pools, tennis courts), streets and parking areas.
Deed Restrictions. Deed restrictions are designed to provide a common standard of conduct for the community. They may define rules concerning the size and number of pets, limitations on parking and types of vehicles, renting of the home, age restriction of residents, business use of the house, and maintaining the appearance of the property.
Architectural Control. Architectural control provides the mechanism to ensure that the character and aesthetic harmony of the community is maintained in subsequent years and protected from a gradual deterioration of the standards. Before purchasing a home in a community association, a prospective buyer should review the architectural restrictions to ensure agreement with the standards.
Services & Maintenance Responsibilities. Maintenance and repair responsibilities coordinated by the association provide consistent appearance and quality of work throughout the community and the time-saving benefit for the members. The collective group purchasing power enhances the community for the everyday enjoyment of all residents.
Protection of Property Values. Although usually not d within the governing documents, one of the primary purposes of an association is to protect property values. When someone allows the appearance of their yard and home to deteriorate seriously, it often negatively impacts their neighbors and property values. Compliance with common standards helps to ensure the pleasing appearance of the community and the marketability of homes and maximizes - if not enhances - their collective property values.
Quality of Lifestyle. Another association purpose usually not stated within the governing documents is to maintain a quality lifestyle for all community residents. All too often, we lock ourselves into our homes without having the opportunity to enjoy the company of our neighbors while celebrating the various traditions and festivities during the year. The association can and should act as the vehicle to help bring neighbors together to foster a sense of community.