This is YOUR association. As homeowners, we control the community. We agree on rules, from architectural guideline, to fences and sheds, to colors and conditions. It’s the most basic form of democracy – homeowners representing our own best interest.
Not all people are cut out to live in community associations, but the majority of those living in communities with HOAs recognize benefits and welcome the HOA. Get involved!
We’ve provided a quick overview of what it means to be part of an HOA.
What is a homeowners association (H.O.A.) and what does it do for me?
Our HOA can be one of our best tools to protect the value of our homes and the quality of our neighborhood. In addition to maintaining our community areas and landscaping, the HOA is responsible for enforcing the community’s bylaws and covenants that outline what we as homeowners may and may not do on and to our property.
People have differing views of what is attractive; without the enforcement of certain restrictions, there is a good chance the neighborhood will look dramatically different over time. The neighborhood you bought in to years or even months ago will not remain the same place it is today unless we maintain the minimum standards.
What do my annual dues pay for?
We live in a master planned community. Our community has common areas that are the responsibility of the HOA to maintain. The brick fence surrounding our community, the grass and trees around the perimeter of our community, and the Midway Square Signs and flower beds at all entrances of the community are a few of the areas the HOA maintains. These areas require water, electric, landscaping, and insurance. We have to pay to maintain these areas each month as well as build up a reserve fund should major repairs or improvements need to be made to these areas.
Additionally, we use the annual dues to employee a management company to help maintain the standards in our community. (See Also: Why do we need a management company?)
Why do we need a Management Company?
Our HOA is a nonprofit business. The Management Company (currently RealManage) oversees vital tasks for our HOA such as accounting, insurance, vendor payments, contract management with vendors, legal council, dues collection, violation enforcement, insurance, and community communication. These are vital services that are extremely difficult of homeowners to manage effectively without assistance.
I have a friend that lives in an HOA, why are there dues higher/lower than mine?
There are a number of factors that determine annual dues. The number of residents and the size of common areas are the two largest factors.
We are a relatively new neighborhood and the dues were set by KB Home. The HOA board and management company constantly monitor the funds and will make adjustments as needed to ensure our monthly bills and that we allow for an adequate reserve fund in case of the unexpected. In the future dues may increase or even decrease as we gain a better understanding of how our annual expenditures and income will be allocated.
In addition to monthly maintenance of common areas, the HOA needs to be prepared for major events. For example, the brick wall around the community could be damaged by a car wreck, a falling tree, or will eventually need a major overhaul or even need to be replaced. We have to have sufficient funds to cover these unexpected events. If the HOA does not have sufficient funds an additional fee on top of the annual dues would have to be collected by the HOA to pay for a major event. Adequate management of the annual fees will allow the HOA to function properly.
What are DCCRs?
DCCR stands for Declaration of Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions. These covenants are the minimum standards that members of our community must follow. They provide a set of guidelines for building, maintaining, and using the homes in our neighborhood. They are what prevents a neighbor from putting a car on blocks in the front yard, from painting the shutters pink and the front door yellow, or having a lawn with waist-high weeds. The covenants protect the value of the community assets – the most important of these assets being our homes.
Why do we have DCCRs?
One of the most important functions of an association is to enforce the DCCRs. Enforcing the bylaws and placing community restrictions can also be one of the biggest concerns to homeowners new to an HOA. If violations are not corrected, there can be very negative results over time. Estimates are that property values in a subdivision with an inactive association can fall as much as twenty percent due to failure to enforce restrictions.
I received a violation letter, what does this mean?
If a violation of our DCCRs occurs a letter will be sent indicating what violation has occurred. A simple correction of the violation is all that is needed. However, if the violation is not corrected fines may be imposed.
I’ve received a notice of violation letter, but I don’t think I’m in violation.
Don’t ignore a notice of violation letter. Failure for you to act will result in a fine. If you feel you are compliant with the DCCRs please contact RealManage for details on the violation immediately. If your issue remains unresolved request that RealManage will pass the issue on to the HOA for review by the Architecture Committee and/or Executive Board.
I received a notice of violation letter, but I’ve already corrected the issue.
As long as the problem has been corrected, then no further action is required.
I’ve received a fine, what now?
You should correct the violation immediately. Once a fine is issued, you will be fined $50 per day until the issue is resolved. Failure to comply may result in court action and a lien may even be imposed against your property.
DON’T IGNORE THE LETTERS. (See Also: I’ve received a notice of violation letter, but I don’t think I’m in violation.) If you dispute a COURTESY or WARNING letter and it’s decided you are indeed in violation you will simply need to correct the problem. If you dispute a FINE letter and lose you may be responsible for the daily fine for every day of the violation.
I’ve talked to my neighbors and they don’t have a problem with my violation.
Our management company patrols the neighborhood regularly any violations of all DCCRs will be enforced. You also need to remember that there are over 200 “neighbors” in your community, just because the people right next door don’t mind doesn’t mean that someone else in the neighborhood didn’t report a violation. It’s also important to remember that not everyone will feel comfortable expressing their concerns directly to you which is another reason for our management company.
I called the city and they said I am not in violation of any city codes?
The DCCRs are rules that are enforced are in addition to any city codes. The DCCRs are legal binding, enforceable restrictions.
How do I remain compliant with our DCCRs?
Upon closing on your home you should have received an abridged, easy to read version of the DCCRs and a full copy of the DCCRs. Electronic copies (PDF) of these documents are available by going to the Yahoo! Midway Square user group which can be accessed from this site. Additionally, you can contact RealManage for copies of the DCCRs or more information.
Some of the most common violations in our community over the past year have been:
- Failure to properly maintain lawns and flower beds (mowing, edging, weed control, etc.)
- Failure to replace dead trees
- Boats, RVs, trailers, or commercial vehicles parked in public view overnight
- Failure to get HOA approval prior to making appearance changes to homes and property (adding fencing, painting, home additions like covered porches or sunrooms, adding shutters, new mailboxes, etc)
- Oil stained driveways
- Garbage cans stored in public view
I want to make changes to the appearance of my home or property, what do I need to do?
Submit an architectural review form and proper documentation to RealManage. The form will indicate all of the required documentation needed. A form may be acquired from RealManage.
What kind of changes to do I need to submit to the Architecture Committee?
Basically ANY visual changes to the exterior of your home or property need to be submitted to the Architecture Committee for review and approval. Some common examples include, but are not limited to:
- Painting or staining fences, doors, shutters, trim, home, etc.
- Addition or replacement of sheds, decks, fences, or other structures.
- Landscaping projects
- Installation of irrigation system
- Replacing mailboxes
- Shingle replacement or installation
- Addition or remodeling of a pool
- If in doubt contact RealManage!
A home in Midway Square is in violation, what can I do?
You may submit a request to RealManage online or via phone. All submissions are confidential and your identity will not be revealed to the homeowner you are reporting.
A home has been in violation for a long time, why hasn’t anything been done?
Just because you see an issue doesn’t mean that steps have not been taken to remedy the issue. To ensure the violation hasn’t gone noticed, please report the issue to RealManage.
More Questions? Visit the user forum or contact:
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