All community associations have three things in common.
Membership is mandatory. Buying a home in a community association automatically makes you an association member—by law.
Governing documents are binding. Association governing documents can be compared to contracts. They specify the owners’ obligations (following the rules, paying assessments) and the association’s obligations (maintaining common areas, preserving home values).
You could lose your home if you fail to pay assessments. Associations have a legal right to place a lien on your property if you don’t pay assessments.
But, take heart! Associations also have three realities they can’t escape. Associations have an obligation to provide three broad categories of service to residents.
Community services. For example, these can include maintaining a community website, orienting new owners or organizing social activities.
Governance services. For example, establishing and maintaining design review standards, enforcing rules and recruiting new volunteer leaders.
Business services. For example, competitively bidding maintenance work, investing reserve funds responsibly, developing long-range plans and collecting assessments.
By delivering these services fairly and effectively, community associations not only protect and enhance the value of individual homes, but they provide owners an opportunity to participate in decisions affecting their community and quality of life. And those are realities we can live with.