“When a community’s residents and HOA leaders understand their roles and responsibilities, it creates a clarity that leads to cohesiveness,” states Lisa Leidy, a community association manager for FirstService Residential. “If you’re a resident, knowing your responsibilities, as well as what you can expect your community management team to provide, it leads to setting realistic expectations and ultimately meeting them.”

With the importance of roles and responsibilities in mind, we’ve compiled a list of nine significant ones for both homeowners and non-owners. Read on to learn more about residents and the roles they play in your community.

Residents have the right to...

  1. A quality association that is both responsive and capable.
  2. Fairness and honesty from their association leaders and property management company - if their community is professionally managed.
  3. Financial stewardship. Association fees and assessments should be spent wisely and based on a realistic budget.
  4. High living standards. A community should be maintained according to its guidelines. If it’s managed by a good professional property management company, you should expect it to enhance your property value and quality of life.
  5. Access to documents. Members should have the complete documentation of association rules and regulations that governs their association before their purchase is complete, or at least available upon moving in. Books and records should also be open to owners with simple written requests.
  6. The opportunity to participate. This includes taking part in meetings, certain committees and elections.
  7. Reasonable process, especially when it comes to foreclosures. Residents should be able to discuss payment plans and options before proceedings begin.
  8. Appeal. A process should be in place that provides for the hearing and appeal of decisions made by community leaders that affect non-routine financial responsibilities or property rights.

Residents have a responsibility to...

  1. Be knowledgeable and compliant. They should read the governing documents, understand them and follow all HOA rules.
  2. Preserve their properties. They should maintain their homes and make sure they’re up to community standards.
  3. Be honest and respectful. That goes for how they behave with their neighbors, as well as their association leaders.
  4. Engage with their community. Voting in community elections is essential to ensure their voices are heard.
  5. Make timely payments. This enables a healthy cash flow for the community.
  6. Communicate.  If they have difficulty paying assessments or meeting other obligations, they have to reach out to their association leaders or community managers.
  7. Request reconsideration.  Sometimes personal situations change. They should make these requests if material decisions are made that affect them personally.
  8. Provide contact information. This ensures association leaders or property managers can contact them and essential community information reaches them.
  9. Ensure compliance. This includes everyone who lives at the property, such as tenants, relatives and friends.

When it comes to community living, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way. When residents are fully informed about their rights and responsibilities and expectations from their homeowners association – including what they’re expected to provide – it can go a long way towards building a HOA community that is friendly, efficient and content. For more information on residents’ rights and responsibilities and creating happy HOA communities, contact FirstService Residential.

Monday October 17, 2016