Living in an HOA community often affords homeowners access to amenities they might not otherwise have, and it also helps to protect property value and create a structured environment. Everyone is expected to follow the same rules and regulations. But sometimes confusion can arise regarding what falls under the HOA’s responsibilities, and what is left up to homeowners.
As a general rule of thumb, homeowners are responsible for everything inside their home, as well as the exterior and property surrounding it; however, they must maintain the exterior in accordance with HOA rules and regulations. For example, there may be a policy in place that states approved colors for siding, shutters, doors, mailboxes, or other features. While it is the homeowner’s duty to make sure their home is well-kept, it is the homeowner’s and HOA’s responsibility to ensure any changes or maintenance are compliant with established rules.
The HOA typically oversees the following areas:
- Maintaining Common Areas: The HOA assumes responsibility for common areas whether green spaces, amenities, or community buildings. They repair any damages, replace or upgrade systems, and ensure proper aesthetics and safety. As a homeowner, it is not your job to make sure the HVAC system at the club house is serviced regularly, but you are responsible for the HVAC system in your own home.
- Investigating Complaints: The HOA is also responsible for investigating any complaints made by members. This could include issues with property not being properly maintained, plumbing being backed up, sidewalks being cracked, or water leaking into their home. The Association must determine whether these issues originate from something that is under their jurisdiction or the homeowner’s.
- Enforcing Rules: In addition, the HOA must also enforce established rules to protect property value and the integrity of the community. If homeowners are not maintaining their homes or yards, are causing damage to common areas, or are otherwise not adhering to policies and procedures, it is the HOA’s responsibility to address these issues.
Of course, the HOA also maintains financial responsibilities for running the community, and all of the above issues play into that. It is important that the Association has a clear understanding of the state of the community’s assets and enacts reasonable assessments to maintain a strong reserve fund and cover operating expenses.
There may be other duties of the HOA as well depending on each association’s governing documents. It is essential to carefully read these materials and understand the rights and responsibilities of both homeowners and the HOA. Kuester supports HOAs in navigating and upholding governing documents, improving communication with homeowners, and running a more effective and efficient organization. Contact Kuester today to learn more.