Posted on November 28, 2016 8:14 AM by HOA Sites
Not all homeowners associations have an HOA board that consists of members who treat everyone equally and fairly. There are over 351,000 homeowners associations in the United States and some of those HOA’s may have a homeowner that pushes their own agenda.
Inappropriate behavior may eventually lead to some form of bullying on the community website or during a meeting regardless of CC&R’s and rules. Homeowners who are long-time residents of the community may try to persuade a board member or HOA manager to enforce what they want. What can you do if this happens in your homeowners association?
Homeowners that display questionable behavior may do things such as insult other homeowners and interfere at times with their demands. When those demands aren’t met, they often resort to bullying to get even or become very vocal about how the HOA board should be at fault. If that happens, HOA board members must promptly remedy the situation by reminding the homeowner about the CC&R’s and HOA rules.
Comments on the community website may also get out of control when debatable topics are mentioned. Online bullying is more likely to happen than bullying in the homeowners association as people think they can get away with it. Any homeowner who feels they have been bullied is encouraged to consult with a board member as soon as possible. How should you act if you were to become a board member?
Know The Tactics & Act Accordingly!
Most bullies are easy to identify since there are certain tactics they use on different people to push their agenda. Condescending comments usually indicate a negative attitude and whether or not they have plans to try and divide the HOA board. Board members that work together know the tactics bullies use and act accordingly to ensure the homeowners association always enforces the rules.
Posted on November 14, 2016 7:30 AM by HOA Sites
In any homeowners association, there should be funds allocated towards repairs in the future or to cover maintenance needs that might be expensive. Reserve funds make it possible for repairs and maintenance in the community to be performed without delays or burdening homeowners with a special assessment. Do HOA board members have a financial plan in place for the future of your homeowners association and the homeowners association website?
Budgeting For The Future
In the homeowners association, a sequence of repairs can result in a shortage of reserve funds. The HOA board has the challenging task of ensuring adequate money is always in the reserves. Costly repairs such as roofs need to be saved for but the average life span of a roof is anywhere from 15 to 30 years depending on the roofing materials and labor costs.
If it would cost $75,000 to replace the roof and it needs replaced after 15 years, then each year $5,000 should be saved. The HOA board should make sure a percentage of the HOA fees are set aside for the reserve fund so all areas of the homeowners association are well-kept. How can the HOA board confirm that the reserve fund always has enough money?
Conduct A Reserve Study
The process of conducting a reserve study involves analyzing the homeowners association visually and creating a plan that considers all repairs or replacements. Do you know when your homeowners association last performed a reserve study?
A reserve study should be updated yearly even when no repairs are performed as the rate of inflation has a profound impact on funding future projects. Know which items the homeowners association is responsible for by frequently visiting the homeowners association website and reading the governing documents. You should always question how the HOA board will fund major projects in the future as it may save you from a special assessment!
Posted on October 27, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Every homeowners association needs to plan for the future and one way of doing that is to conduct a reserve study. A reserve study is performed to determine when areas of the association will need renovated or repaired and how much that will cost. Certain areas such as the roof and parking lot are expensive to repair so money needs to be saved each month to fund those projects when mandatory. Does your homeowners association set aside enough money to pay for future repairs?
Financial Planning For The Homeowners Association
Typically, a reserve study is prepared by someone who specializes in doing them but they can be performed by anyone. Board members should ensure they have an extensive knowledge of HOA’s in order to accurately calculate a time frame and a budget. An HOA board member will analyze the budget and determine how much of the HOA fees will be required to cover the expense of future projects.
A competent reserve study performed by a professional provides board members with valuable information as they know what to look for and offer helpful advice. It can be difficult to predict what areas will need repaired based on appearance or when the last time any maintenance was performed. Areas of the homeowners association need updated from time to time including the neighborhood website. What happens if the reserve study is not performed by a professional and funds are insufficient?
Why It Matters To You!
The reserve study not only matters to board members but also to homeowners whether they follow the neighborhood website or not. If the reserve study fails to include all areas of the homeowners association or the budget is not accurate then there would be a shortage of reserve funds. Unfortunately, a shortage of reserve funds leads to a special assessment unless board members postpone projects in the community.
Posted on October 17, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
HOA fees are part of owning a home located in a homeowners association but these fees help provide amenities for you and others in the community. In most associations, they cover amenities such as pools, tennis courts, trash removal, landscaping, and maintenance in the community. Does the HOA website explain in detail what the homeowners association fees cover and when you might expect an increase? If not, you may be surprised one day to find out that the fees have gone up to cover other areas.
Why You Should Read The Governing Documents
The governing documents of the homeowners association clarify what the homeowner association is responsible for so take the time to understand them. Not all homeowners associations are run correctly and HOA fees can vary a great deal in what they cover from one homeowners association to another.
Never assume that an association with higher fees provides more amenities. Equally, verify that an association with lower fees provides basic amenities and request to see a history of the fees to determine how often they are raised. HOA fees not only cover amenities but a portion of the money is also set aside in an account called a reserve fund.
This account provides the funds for bigger projects such as repaving roads and replacing roofs. If the HOA fee is lower than average then residents may be asked to fund those projects in the form of paying a special assessment.
Have You Asked What The HOA Fees Cover?
Just because you pay higher HOA fees or a special assessment doesn’t guarantee that everything will be covered. The best way to find out what the fees cover is to ask the HOA board and what might cause that to change in the future. This saves you the frustration of finding out later that some amenities are not covered if the HOA website isn’t up-to-date.
Posted on September 29, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Political views of residents in a homeowners association are usually shown by posting yard signs of the candidate who they support. Before posting signs, every homeowner needs to ensure they follow the rules of the association by knowing the political sign restrictions.
While the HOA board and the homeowner association website should follow the CC&R’s of the association and have a neutral bias. Has your homeowners association chosen a side this campaign season or have they remained unbiased?
Board Members & The CC&R’s
The presidential race this year is heating up and each vote counts so all homeowners are encouraged to vote. However, the HOA board must follow the CC&R’s and not show their political interest or take the side of a candidate. This keeps political debates from getting out of control. Regardless of political views, the board has a duty to inform each homeowner of the HOA rules and the consequences if they aren’t followed.
Additionally, board members must know exactly what the rules say so they are prepared to handle any issues in the association. If the CC&Rs are contrary to the law then the law takes priority over the CC&R’s. Members may suggest measures worth supporting that affect the homeowners association. During an election, there may be times of doubt so it’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney on those matters.
Has The HOA Board Advised You?
Residents are informed about matters in the homeowners association in a variety of ways but the homeowner association website keeps residents the most up-to-date. Information posted on the homeowner association website should always be politically unbiased and address the concerns of homeowners. Homeowners also have a right to post political signs in their yard to show support for a candidate as long as they adhere to the HOA rules.
Posted on September 23, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
The air quality in your home may not be as healthy as you think. Most modern homes are insulated extremely well so they are more energy efficient. While that provides a lot of benefit it may also lead to issues as the air might contain more pollutants. Without a community website, you and other residents could encounter difficulty to increase oxygen levels in your home so you breathe easier.
Are Pollutants Your Problem?
Periodically, pollutants become trapped indoors depending on how well your home is insulated and how frequently you use chemicals. Chemicals in cleaners, paints, air fresheners, and pesticides all have toxins that lower oxygen levels. Toxins such as carbon dioxide lower the air quality in your home but there are ways to remove these toxins from the air.
Houseplants offer a natural way of replacing air in your home as they take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen into the atmosphere. The number of plants you have can make a difference, but a general rule to follow is two plants for every 100 square feet of space. Generally, there are signs to watch for when determining if the air quality in your home is healthy or not. Do you ever experience frequent headaches or irritation in your throat, eyes, or nose?
Visit The Community Website & Lower Your Exposure
Pollutants in the air cause a negative effect on your health. Some homeowners are more sensitive to pollutants than others and consistent exposure could cause health issues to show up. Often, the key to breathing easier is to remove the pollutant from the air space which eliminates any exposure. The community website and the EPA website offer detailed information on which pollutants to keep out of your home. As a result, the air indoors is controlled which makes it easier to breathe and lowers your health risks!
Posted on September 16, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Natural disasters in a homeowners association happen no matter how prepared you may be but you should know how to take action when they occur. Obviously, the more prepared you are increases your chances of minimizing losses while keeping everyone safe in your home. Generally, the homeowners association website informs residents of all the aspects to be aware of in the neighborhood. Do you live in an area prone to flooding, tornadoes, or other natural disasters?
Actions To Follow
Some areas are more prone than others to suffering damage from a natural disaster which should be a concern when buying your home. Verify the insurance company knows the possible dangers associated with your place so you always have adequate coverage. If a disaster strikes, contact your insurance company first to advise them what has happened.
They know what dangers exist following a natural disaster and can guide you towards remaining safe at all times. Damage may be so significant that it causes structural weakness in your home and other buildings. Always keep your safety a top priority and enter with caution if you must go in the home.
Before leaving, secure the area so other residents resist the urge of going near and putting themselves at risk. After informing your insurance company, contact the HOA manager or an HOA board member for further direction. If there is major damage, notify the utility companies to have the electric, water, and gas shut off immediately.
What About Your Belongings?
Once it’s safe to enter again, survey the extent of the damage and take multiple pictures so you have proof when processing your claim with the insurance company. As well, list all valuable items that suffered any damage and include receipts if you still have them. Homeowners can develop a plan for taking action after a natural disaster by checking the homeowners association website.
Posted on September 9, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
A foreclosure on a home in the homeowners association usually happens due to one of two main reasons that are usually shared on the neighborhood website. Either the homeowner has failed to make mortgage payments or they neglected to pay their HOA fees or assessments. The homeowners association may foreclose on your home despite keeping mortgage payments current if HOA fees and assessments are not paid. What defenses can you use should you ever go through a foreclosure process?
Fully Understand The Governing Documents
A foreclosure is the last event any homeowner wants to encounter but the economic situation is unpredictable over the last few years. The possibility of a company downsizing is more likely than ever which means you could be without a source of income. Know the governing documents of the homeowners association prior to buying a home so you understand your possible defenses and the rights of the HOA board.
HOA fees or assessments may only account for a thousand dollars or less but the HOA board may choose to foreclose on your home anyway. There should be a part in the governing documents that talks about how and when the homeowners association may pursue a foreclosure.
If not then the association may not be authorized to start the foreclosure process. As well, there could be a limit on the amount of fees owed or a time limit before the board can take action depending on your state. Premature foreclosure allows a homeowner to use the defense that the association failed to follow state statutory requirements.
Are There Errors In Your Process?
Errors are possible in the accounting of your HOA fees and the application of your payments. Any foreclosure process that has incorrect records may be considered invalid and prevent the board from foreclosing on your home. Follow the neighborhood website so you remain aware of your defenses but remember HOA laws vary widely from state to state!
Posted on September 2, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Night driving increases your risk for having an accident as conditions are significantly different with reduced vision since lighting may be poor in certain areas. At night time, your ability to notice pedestrians and other motorists is delayed as a result of limited visibility. Though the HOA website informs residents of dangers, every homeowner should always drive safely through the neighborhood to lessen the chance of an accident.
Is There A Way To Increase Visibility?
One possibility of decreased visibility is due to the headlights of your vehicle not being angled properly. A minor adjustment to lower or raise the headlight beam effectively changes your view of the road which drastically increases your chances of avoiding an accident. In most modern cars, this is a change that can be performed in just a matter of a few minutes by following the owner’s manual.
Also, regularly check the headlights and windshield during the winter season to confirm they are free from road salt. If they are dirty, use a microfiber cloth to clean them so no streaks or smudges are left behind and always do this in an area out of direct sunlight.
Often, routine cleaning improves visibility in poorly lit areas of a homeowners association so you spot other residents or animals at night and maintain a safe speed. Aside from that, keep any interior lights turned off in your vehicle to limit any distraction and practice good driving habits such as watching the road up ahead. There are many factors that impact your driving at night but what about your vision as you age?
Vision changes are expected as we age and driving at night may eventually present a safety concern. Fortunately, routine eye exams keep you informed about changes to your vision so schedule an appointment if you start to experience trouble driving at night. The HOA website and good vision keeps you and other homeowners safe while traveling throughout the community.
Posted on August 29, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Your home and the homeowners association have many areas that need to be monitored in order to minimize damages and ensure residents stay healthy. Mold is one problem that can cause significant damage in a home since it may grow anywhere and take time to notice without a homeowner association website. Fortunately, there are signs to watch for so you eliminate mold before it becomes a problem. Do you know the signs and causes of mold in your home?
Mold & Your Home
The first step to wipe out a mold problem is to know what causes it and make sure those causes are weakened or removed. The major cause of mold in a home is due to moisture. Humidity is likely to increase your chances for mold if you are too close to a body of water or the shoreline. A home with poor ventilation also allows moisture to accumulate and mold growth to ensue.
Typical causes of mold include leaking pipes, a leaking roof, and condensation due to cold surfaces. Problems associated with mold go beyond damage to your home as it can also cause several problems related to your health. Toxins and allergens are produced by mold so your immune system creates an allergic reaction when you breathe in mold spores. Some residents may experience flu like symptoms, sore throat, sinus congestion, coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing.
How Can You Prevent Mold From Starting?
In order to control mold, you need to control the moisture in your home to prevent it from ever turning into a problem. The best way to do this is to monitor areas of your home where there is plumbing and dry out any area that becomes damaged by water. If you have a problem with mold, contact a board member through the homeowner association website to implement corrective measures to eliminate it!
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