Home > Blog > September 2018 > Homeowner Association Governing Documents - What you need to know

Homeowner Association Governing Documents - What you need to know

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Our Association Management and Property Mangagement Division in Destin, Florida takes pride in ensuring property owners are familiar with their homeowners association (HOA) or condominium owners association (COA) governing documents.

Our experienced team of CAMS has assembled a list of what you need to know, what to look for and how you (the owner) could be affected: 
Amendments: The Board of Directors of your association may wish to add, change, or eliminate certain verbiage within your governing documents and it is important that you are a part of this process. Your documents will specify the vote requirement to make these changes (example: 2/3 of the membership). If you fail to cast your vote, it will automatically be considered a “NO” vote. If not enough votes are received, it is impossible for an association to make changes which are often necessary, especially in outdated documents. 
Physical Alterations: The Board of Directors of an association may choose to make changes to the appearance of the common areas of the property at any given time pending membership approval. Your governing documents will specify the approval requirements (example: 75% of the membership) needed to change the color of the building, color of a perimeter wall, removal of a fountain, addition of a pergola, etc. Your vote is essential to the enhancement of your property. 
Special Assessments: How are these physical alterations being funded? If the association does not have the operating funds or funds in their capital reserves to cover the cost of an enhancement or maintenance project, the ownership may be special assessed. It is important to know the requirements needed to levy a special assessment against the ownership for your particular property. Sometimes the majority of the membership is required to approve a special assessment and sometimes the Board of Directors has the authority to approve a special assessment without ownership approval. The approved special assessment amount will be levied against all owners as outlined in the documents with a specified due date. It is best to know the Board of Director’s rights upfront rather than be surprised with an unexpected (oftentimes large) bill to pay! 
Capital Reserves: Ideally, your association contributes an adequate amount into a capital reserves account for when large items are due for maintenance or replacement. It is important to ensure that these extraordinary expense items are included in your association’s capital reserves. This will help to avoid special assessing the ownership for these specific items when they come due. These items may cover the exterior sealing and painting of the building, railings, roof, exterior lighting, walkways, pool equipment, parking lot coating, the irrigation system, tennis court maintenance, etc. The amount your association contributes to reserves may also affect mortgage loan approval. 
Enforced Maintenance: As you know, the association is responsible for the management of the common areas of the property. This includes contracting with maintenance and repair vendors as allowed within the association’s budget. The individual lot owners are responsible for the maintenance and repair within his or her lot, including exterior maintenance of the home. If an owner fails to maintain his or her portion of the property, property values may be affected. Oftentimes the association’s documents allow for the association to act on an owner’s behalf and charge the owner’s account for the cost of doing so. It is important that you know your rights and responsibilities as an owner as well as the rights and responsibilities of the association. 
So, before making a very large investment, we encourage you to take the time to read through the governing documents that will be directly affecting you. Learn more about our Association Management division online at DestinManagement.com

Considering purchasing a home or condominium in the Destin area, learn more about Destin real estate and our team of real estate professionals at DestinSales.com

Want to simply visit the beach, view our premier vacation rentals in Desitn, Miramar Beach and 30A at DestinVacation.com.

See you @ the beach!  

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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