Published On: Fri, Nov 21st, 2014

Homeowner’s Associations: What Are They And Could They Affect You?

If you are thinking of buying an apartment or a house in a gated community, you’ll know about homeowner’s associations. But how much do you know about them, and are they something that could affect you?

Homeowner's Associations

The focus of today’s article is to tell you more about this topic. That way, if you do decide to buy a property in an apartment complex or gated community, you will know what to expect. Keep reading to find out more…

What is a homeowner’s association?

A homeowner’s association, or “HOA” for short, manages a gated community or apartment complex. The idea is that they make and enforce certain rules for properties in its jurisdiction.

To keep things running well, homeowner’s associations charge monthly or yearly fees. These fees get used to pay for the upkeep of communal areas. Examples include hallways, elevators, lighting, swimming pools and gardens.

In some cases, they can ask homeowners for higher fees to pay for unexpected repairs if they don’t have enough money to do so. They are a good idea for locations where local authorities are not willing to cover the cost of any maintenance work.

Most of the time, HOA management companies look after the maintenance and upkeep of communal areas.

Why do we need homeowner’s associations?

It’s pretty simple. If you don’t have a homeowner’s association to manage common areas, they will fall into disrepair. And that usually leads to lower valuations for the properties contained within the communities.

Homeowner’s associations are akin to local authorities like city councils in some ways. They manage various aspects of common areas not owned by specific residents. They also take the headache out of getting things done in communal parts of buildings.

Another benefit is that management companies are often on call 24/7. That means if some damage occurs to a communal part of an apartment complex, it will get repaired sooner rather than later.

Are there any bad points to homeowner’s associations?

To some people homeowner’s associations are a bad idea. There is the obvious financial burden that gets places on homeowners. When you live in an apartment complex, part of the deal is that you pay your dues. That means you cannot opt out of paying maintenance fees.

In some communities, homeowner’s associations are rather strict on what you can and cannot do to your property. To keep property values high, some will demand that no physical alterations get made to your home’s exterior. They do this so that all properties look the same.

Even when the holidays are coming, you might not get allowed to put up Christmas lights on the exterior of your property. As you can imagine, some homeowner’s associations are rather picky about what you can do to your home.

The good news is that they are the exception rather than the rule. As long as you don’t do anything extreme like putting a shark through your roof, all will be fine.

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