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What is a Community Association?

A community association is a non-profit corporation registered with the State and managed by a Board of Directors and exists to preserve the quality of the community and the value of the property owned by members, making it a preferred place to call home.

Associations can consist of single-family homes, condominiums, or townhomes and are typically set up by the original developer of the community with a set of rules called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions otherwise known as CC&Rs.

All community associations have three basic defining characteristics:

  • Membership in a community association is mandatory and automatic for all owners. Those who purchase property within an association’s jurisdiction automatically become members upon the purchase of the property.

  • Owners are obligated by governing documents to abide by the community association’s rules and regulations.

  • All owners must pay mandatory assessments that fund the operation of the association. The association utilizes these assessments to cover shared costs such as landscaping, clubhouses, pools, dog parks, trash, water/sewer, etc. The amount of the association’s assessment will depend on the level of amenities and services provided by the association.

An association is run by a Board of Directors, who are comprised of owners within the community. The Board is also elected by other owners in the community to represent the best interest of all owners and the community. The Board of directors can elect to hire a community management company to assist in the daily management of the association. If the board does hire a management company, the community will be assigned a manager or management team, who then works at the Board’s direction.

Think of your association as a mini city. It’s run in much the same way, paralleling the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a municipal government. Instead of a City Council, an association has a Board of Directors, both of which are elected by the people. Instead of taxes, owners pay assessments, both of which are mandatory. And in place of city ordinances, owners are required to follow community rules and regulations, which all persons are expected to follow, and come with consequences for not.

What is the purpose of a Community Association?

Community associations are designed to:

  • Manage common or shared property.

  • Protect owners’ property values.

  • Provide services for owners.

  • Develop a sense of community through social activities and amenities.

Key Takeaways

  • An association is a quasi-governmental organization that makes and enforces rules and guidelines for a subdivision, planned community, or condominium building.

  • Membership in associations is mandatory and automatic

  • Associations are run by a board of directors and typically collect monthly or annual fees to pay for common area maintenance and the upkeep of facilities

  • Assessments are set by the board of directors and are mandatory for all owners

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