If you live in a subdivision or condominium complex and you want to be sure there is a way to enforce covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), you will want to make sure there is a homeowners association (HOA) set up. If there isn't one already in place, you can set one up with a group of neighbors who have concerns regarding managing your community. Homeowners associations take on issues such as gardens, pools, children's play areas, maintaining fences and entrance signs, noise abatement, parking areas and dues. Laws vary between states, but there are certain guidelines that most HOAs follow.
Hire a real estate attorney to help you form the association. There are strict laws to follow when forming an HOA. The attorney can save you from making some costly mistakes.
Select a name. You will need a name when you file your paperwork. This name must be unique from any other corporations already on file with your state.
Choose a board of directors. The initial board does not need to be voted in. However, for subsequent boards, HOAs usually hold elections for the positions of president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer.
File to incorporate with your state's corporate filing office.
Establish bylaws. Because these are the rules that HOA members must follow, get input from the community as you are putting the bylaws together.
Determine the membership dues.
Put signs in front of the neighborhood advertising when and where the first HOA meeting will be held.
Hold the first meeting. This is when you officially become a corporate entity. At this first meeting, you may want to set up committees and get people to chair them, such as architectural, pool and social committees. You will also adopt the bylaws at the first meeting.
The president is the spokesperson for the board. He will carry out the responsibilities based on the best interests of the HOA and is expected to preside at all meetings. The president can execute and sign documents in the name of the HOA. The vice-president has all the powers of the president and fills in during the president's absence. The secretary keeps and maintains minutes of the meetings. The treasurer is the custodian for the funds and financial records of the HOA.
Check with your local laws to see if you need to announce publically your HOA meetings.
Periodically review with your real estate attorney what your HOA is doing to ensure everything is legal.
- Yellow Post-It with MEETING - on white background image by pmphoto from Fotolia.com