A community association is a generic term used to describe residential developments in which each owner is bound to a real estate organization by a set of governing documents that require adherence to a set of rules and the payment of assessments. The money collected in assessments is used for the operation of the association. Community associations are not voluntary organizations; membership is automatic when a unit is purchased. Though real estate practice and terminology vary among organizations and states, it is important to note that the following community association terms and concepts are valid in any locality.
There are three basic types of community associations:
■ Planned community
In this post, we’ll focus on Planned Communities.
Planned communities are the most common type of community association. Recent estimates indicate that 52–55 percent of all community associations are planned communities.
In a planned community, each purchaser has exclusive ownership of a lot/unit, including the property the lot/unit sits on and the residential dwelling itself. Each resident generally owns an interest separate from the other owners, coupled with mandatory membership in an association.
The association owns the common area, but the owners have very specific rights and obligations with respect to the common area. Common areas in a planned community include the grounds, recreational areas, and sometimes, the roads. Because most planned communities consist of detached housing, common areas do not generally include walls and roofs, although they may.
There are many types of planned communities including townhouse developments, single-family home developments, planned unit developments, planned residential developments, cluster developments, property owners associations, and master-planned communities.
~ CAI National
The Essentials of Community Association Volunteer Leadership, by Katharine Rosenberry, ESQ.
U.S. Census publications, the American Housing Survey, IRS Statistics of Income Reports, consultation with CAI professional members, and state-specific data from California and Florida and related trade organizations