Frequently Asked Questions – Association Management FAQs Categories

  • Assessments
    • Question: What is an Assessment?

      Answer: Homeowner Associations can compel Homeowners to pay a share of Common Expenses, usually per-Unit or based on square footage. These expenses generally arise from Common Property, which varies dramatically depending on the type of Association. Some Associations are like towns in that they have private roads, services, utilities, amenities, community buildings and pools. Many Condominium Associations consider the roofs and exteriors of the structures as the responsibility of the Association. Other associations have no Common Property, but may charge for services or other matters.

    • Question: Are ‘Dues’ different than ‘Assessments?’

      Answer: A predetermined set of fees, usually referred to as ‘Dues’ are collected by PUD/Homeowner’s/Condominium Associations, or their contracted Property Management Company, for the upkeep of said organizations or neighborhoods. These fees or ‘Dues’ are billed at intervals, usually by month, quarter, or annually. The word ‘Assessment’ usually references fees levied to each Owner to cover unusual occurrences, such as budget deficits for items like snow removal which can vary significantly year to year. Often the terms are used interchangeably.

  • Association Types
    • Question: What is a Homeowner’s Association (HOA)?

      Answer: A Homeowners’ Association (HOA) is a legal entity created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a community of homes. It is given the authority to enforce the covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&Rs) and to manage the Common Amenities of the development. It allows a developer to end their responsibility over the community, typically by transferring ownership of the Association to the Homeowners after selling. Generally accepted as a voluntary Association of Homeowners gathered together to protect their property values and to improve the neighborhood, a large percentage of U.S neighborhoods where free standing homes exist have an HOA. Most Homeowners’ Associations are non-profit organizations and are subject to state statutes that govern non-profit corporations and Homeowners’ Associations.

    • Question: What is the difference between a Homeowner’s Association and a Neighborhood Association?

      Answer: The term Neighborhood Association is sometimes incorrectly used instead of Homeowner’s Association (HOA). Some key differences include: 1. HOA membership is mandatory generally through Rules & Regulations tied to the ownership of property like deed restrictions. Neighborhood Association membership is voluntary or informal. 2. HOAs often own and maintain Common Property, such as recreational facilities, parks, and roads, whereas Neighborhood Associations are focused on general advocacy and community events. The Rules for formation of a Neighborhood Association in the United States are sometimes regulated at the city or state level. Neighborhood Associations are more likely to be formed in older, established neighborhoods, whereas HOAs are generally established at the time a residential neighborhood is built and sold. In some cases, Neighborhood Associations exist simultaneously with HOAs, and each may not encompass identical boundaries.

  • Association Management Questions
    • Question: What is Association Management?

      Answer: Association management is a distinct field of management and are unique in that the ‘Owners’ are Dues-paying Members. Members also govern their Association through an elected Executive Board or other governing body, along with Association Committees, commissions, task forces, councils and other units. Typically, the Executive Board selects, retains and evaluates a Chief Executive Officer or an Executive Director who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Association and paid staff. Managers within the association environment are responsible for many of the same tasks that are found in other organizational contexts. These include human resource management, financial management, meeting management, IT management, and project management. Other aspects of management are unique for association managers. These include: membership recruitment and retention; tax-exempt accounting and financial management; development of non-dues revenue and fundraising. Association managers must also be familiar with laws and regulations that pertain only to associations. To attain the knowledge needed to effectively operate in association management, its practitioners may choose to pursue the Certified Association Executive designation.

    • Question: What is an Association Management Company and what do they do?

      Answer: A Property Management Company is contracted by the Executive Board of the Community to provide a variety of services including, but not limited to, collecting assessments, hiring & managing sub-contractor endeavors, providing financial advisement & analysis, preparing statement/reports, overseeing general maintenance and problem resolution, and advisement on legal and other property related matters. Some of these companies manage hundreds of properties simultaneously, while others focus on individual properties.

    • Question: What is a ‘Managing Agent?’

      Answer: A Managing Agent is a person or entity hired specifically to assist the Executive Board in enforcing the governing documents and managing the assets, funds, and interests of the Association.

    • Question: What is a ‘Proxy?’

      Answer: A Proxy is an individual appointed to act or vote on behalf of another person by representing them at a meeting of the Association. Proxy can also refer to the written piece of paper granting that power.

    • Question: What is a ‘Quorum?’

      Answer: A Quorum is defined as the minimum number of Owners required to hold an official meeting of the Association. The number of Owners required can vary greatly according to the corresponding Association’s governing documents.

    • Question: What is a ‘Recuse?’

      Answer: Recuse involves the temporary removal of an Association member or Executive Board member, or the act of disallowing his or her participation in a particular vote or proceeding.

  • Board Of Directors
    • Question: What is an Executive Board or Board of Directors?

      Answer: The Executive Board (commonly referred to as the Board of Directors), in relation to a Homeowner/Condominium Association is, generally, an elected or appointed group, by the Members of the Association, charged with managing the affairs of the Association as outlined in the governing documents of the Community.

    • Question: How do I contact my Executive Board?

      Answer: If your community has an Executive Board, their contact information can be obtained by checking the Board information area of your website or by attending annual meetings or reading the minutes from each Annual Meeting.

  • CAI
    • Question: What is CAI?

      Answer: Founded in 1973, CAI is Community Associations Institute, a national and chapter-based membership organization dedicated to fostering successful common-interest communities. In addition to state and national legislative advocacy on behalf of Associations, CAI provides education, tools and resources to those who govern and manage Association-governed communities. CAI members include Association board members and other Homeowner volunteer leaders, Community Managers, Association Management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to Associations, such as attorneys, accountants and reserve specialists. CAI is committed to being the worldwide center of knowledge and expertise for people seeking excellence in Association operations, governance and management. Visit or call (888) 224-4321 for more information.

    • Question: Is CAI a national organization or are they local to my area?

      Answer: CAI is a national organization with almost 60 local and state chapters. CAI members enjoy automatic membership in the chapter of their choice. Find a CAI chapter in your area. 

  • Association Legal Documents
    • Question: What are ‘CC&R’s’?

      Answer: The term CC&R refers to ‘Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions’ – more commonly called Rules & Regulations. A real covenant is a legal obligation imposed in a Deed by the Seller of a home and or property upon the Buyer of the real estate, to do or not to do something. Such restrictions frequently ‘run with the land’ and are enforceable on future Buyers of the property. Examples might be to maintain a property in a reasonable state of repair, to preserve a sight-line for a neighboring property, not to run a business from a residence, or not to build on certain parts of the property. Many covenants are very simple and are meant only to protect a neighborhood from Homeowners destroying trees or historic things or otherwise directly harming property values. Some can be more specific and strict, outlining everything a Homeowner can do to the exterior of their home, including the number of non-familial tenants one may have, acceptable colors to re-paint the home, exactly when holiday decorations are allowed up, automobile placement or repair on property, satellite placement, etc.

    • Question: What are ‘ByLaws’?

      Answer: ByLaws are a set of rules or guidelines regarding the operation of a non-profit corporation and generally set forth definitions of Offices and Committees involved with the Executive Board. ByLaws usually specify particulars for voting rights, meetings, notices, and other areas involved with the successful operation of the Association.

    • Question: What are ‘Governing Documents’?

      Answer: Governing documents typically refer to the Declaration, ByLaws, Rules & Regulations (CC&R’s), Articles of Incorporation or any other documents which govern the normal operating procedures/functions of an Association.

    • Question: What is a ‘Lien’?

      Answer: A Lien is a monetary claim levied against a property for unpaid mortgage, taxes, contractor work, or other charges. A Lien is attached to the property – not the owner – but legally must be recorded in the property records of the County of residence. If a Lien is in place, the property Owner has very limited ability to do anything involving the property until the Lien is satisfied or removed.

    • Question: What is the ‘Declaration?’

      Answer: The Declaration is sometimes referred to as the ‘master deed,’ ‘documents,’ or ‘declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions’ [CC&Rs]. It describes an Owner’s responsibilities to the Association which can include payment of Dues and Assessments, as well as, the Association’s various duties to the Owners. It is commonly viewed as somewhat of a ‘constitution’ of the Association. The person or group of persons who either signs the original Declaration governing the development and Association or acquires the original developer’s rights is referred to as the ‘Declarant.’

    • Question: What is an ‘Easement?’

      Answer: An Easement is an interest or a right in real property which grants the ability to an entity to use the land of another for a special purpose or endeavor. An Association may, for example, have an easement for slope maintenance or other repair purposes. A public utility may also have an easement for maintenance or repair work to be executed at a future date.

    • Question: What is a ‘Notice of Non-compliance?’

      Answer: Similar in essence to a Lien, the Notice of Non-Compliance is a document sometimes authorized under the CC&Rs which may be recorded in the County property records. Its’ essential purpose is to notify prospective Buyers that the property is in Violation of the governing documents for the Community.

  • General Terms
    • Question: What is a ‘Common Area?’

      Answer: A Common Area is any area of improved real property intended for shared use by the Members of an Association.

    • Question: What are ‘Ordinances’?

      Answer: An Ordinance is an individual or set of laws adopted by local government at the county and city level.