Understanding HOA : Exploring the Role and Function

What is an HOA?

An HOA, short for the Home Owners Association, is a non-profit organization that governs a residential community. Imagine it as a self-run club for residents, managing shared spaces and establishing rules. When a new neighborhood is built, the developer typically establishes the HOA. They create a legal document called the CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) outlining the HOA's purpose and the rules residents must follow.  These rules can cover everything from maintaining yards to painting your house.  By purchasing a home governed by a HOA, you automatically become a member.  Initially, the developer is responsible for the completion and maintenance till the completion of the project, but once the development is completed, the developer helps form the home owners association and elect a board of members to take over, making decisions and enforcing the CC&Rs. This resident-led board is responsible for maintaining common areas like parks and pools, collecting dues to cover costs, and ensuring everyone follows the established rules.  So, HOAs can enhance a community by maintaining its appearance and potentially increasing property values.

How Does an HOA Function?

An elected Board of Management oversees the day-to-day operations of an HOA. The board typically consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Each board member has specific responsibilities outlined in the community's bylaws.

  • President: Chairs all meetings and acts as the HOA's official representative.
  • Vice President: Assumes the President's duties in their absence.
  • Secretary: Maintains meeting minutes and association records.
  • Treasurer: Manages the HOA's finances and keeps accurate records of income and expenditure.

Objectives of an HOA

HOAs in India derive their authority from the 2010 HOA Act. This act specifies the goals, powers, and duties of HOAs, their boards, and apartment owners. Here are some key objectives of HOAs:

  • Represent the Apartment Owners Association: The HOA acts on behalf of all apartment owners in the community.
  • Manage Finances: HOAs collect dues from homeowners to maintain common areas, facilities, and pay for necessary services.
  • Maintain Common Areas: HOAs are responsible for maintaining and repairing common areas like hallways, lobbies, elevators, landscaping, swimming pools, and clubhouses.
  • Plan and Organize Activities: Some HOAs organize social events and recreational activities for residents.
  • Enforce Rules and Regulations: HOAs establish and enforce rules regarding pet ownership, noise levels, parking, maintenance of individual properties, and overall aesthetics of the community.

What to Do if Your HOA Isn't Functioning Properly

HOAs have a legal obligation to serve the best interests of the community. If you feel your HOA is not fulfilling its duties, here are some steps you can take:

  • Address Your Concerns with the Board: First, try to communicate your concerns directly to the HOA board. The issue might have a simple explanation, and open communication can often resolve problems.
  • Review the Governing Documents: Each HOA has its own bylaws and governing documents outlining its responsibilities and procedures for addressing grievances. Familiarize yourself with these documents.
  • Attend HOA Meetings: Stay informed and participate in HOA meetings. Voice your concerns and work with other residents to find solutions.

Consider Legal Action: If all else fails, and the HOA is demonstrably violating its legal obligations or acting unethically, you may need to consider legal action.

Forming an Apartment Owners Association (AOA)

The process of forming an AOA society in India requires several steps:

  • Membership: All apartment owners in the complex must be members of the AOA.
  • Bylaws: Draft and agree upon a set of rules and regulations that govern the AOA.
  • Office Bearers: Elect a President, Secretary, and Treasurer to manage the AOA.

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