Know Your Homeowner Rights and Your Responsibilities

As someone who owns a unit or house in a common-interest community, you have certain rights. You also have certain responsibilities to the association and to other homeowners. These rights and responsibilities are described in the association’s governing documents, which include covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws. And by virtue of your ownership, the association—your neighbors and fellow homeowners—presumes you know the governing documents exist and have an idea of what they contain. 

As a homeowner, you have the right to:

• Participate in the association board’s decision-making process

• Attend and participate in all membership meetings

• Vote in person or by proxy

• Access association records, financial statements and governing documents

• Use and enjoy common areas (This privilege can be suspended temporarily for unpaid assessments or rules’ violations.)

• Sell your individually owned unit or property  

As a homeowner and member of this community, you are obligated to

• Pay your fair share—via regularly scheduled and special assessments—of the costs of operating the association and maintaining common areas. It costs money to pay property taxes, collect the trash, maintain the landscaping and shovel snow from the roads, parking areas and sidewalks.

• Maintain your personal unit or home in accordance with the association’s bylaws and architectural guidelines. Some associations’ rules are more strict about paint colors, yard ornaments and landscaping than others. Be aware of and adhere to what this association’s architectural guidelines prescribe.

• Be respectful of your neighbors and allow them the “quiet enjoyment” of their own individual units or homes. Loud parties, second-hand smoke or outdoor lighting can infringe on your neighbors’ privacy.

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Condo Home Inspection

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Protect Pets – and Common Areas – from Parasites


Dogs and cats can be great companions, but they also can carry fleas, ticks and parasites into your home and our community. Infestations can spread quickly through a community when flea-infested carpeting or pet bedding is disposed of improperly, when a flea-infested pet plays with your pet and when pet waste is left uncollected on common areas.

Help avoid harmful pests in your home and community with the following tips, and follow up with your veterinarian to learn more about other ways to prevent and treat outbreaks.

  • Apply a topical flea and tick pesticide. Fleas lay 40 to 50 eggs a day. Unless a pesticide kills 95 percent of the fleas, you won’t eliminate the problem. To do this, you need to use the products sold by your veterinarian. Over-the-counter products just aren’t strong or effective enough. Monthly applications will help keep pets healthy even when they’re exposed to parasites—including mosquitos and mites.
  • Always leash your pet. Although you may trust your pets to obey commands, keeping them leashed lessens the likelihood they’ll be infected by other pets and wildlife.
  • Keep your pet clean. Even indoor pets should be inspected for ticks and flea “dirt,” which looks like pepper at the base of the coat on the skin. An occasional bath with flea shampoo is a good idea as well. Visit your local pet store or grooming facility or check online for information on bathing routines and options that are best for your pet.
  • Monitor your pet’s behavior. Scratching is your first indication that fleas have discovered your dog or cat. Apply a topical pesticide immediately. Fleas, ticks and mosquitos carry potentially life threatening pathogens, so pets can experience a wide range of symptoms if infected; be suspicious of changes in behavior and discuss them promptly with your veterinarian.
  • Keep the situation contained. Once you’ve treated your pet and your home (and possibly your yard or outdoor surroundings depending on how severe the infestation), keep the pet close to home until the problem is resolved. Wash bedding and toys that may harbor eggs or larvae in hot water. Infested bedding or carpeting should be tightly sealed in plastic bags before disposing to reduce risk of spreading to others.
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Insurance ABCs…

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Budgeting Basics

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Politics or Not – What Would You Do?


During a community election in December of 2013, four (4) homeowners sought to be elected to two (2) open seats on a board of directors. In the end Candidate One received 125 votes, Candidate Two received 115 votes, Candidate Three received 112 votes and Candidate Four received 75 votes.

Fast forward to August 2014 (8 months later) – Candidate One is serving on the board, Candidate Two has resigned, Candidate Three is still active in the community, and Candidate Four has moved and is now leasing his/her condo.

The community By-Laws allow for the board of directors (not a specific officer) to appoint a replacement, by majority vote, whenever another board member resigns.

My approach would be to herald back to the election results of December 2013 and ask Candidate Three if he/she is still interested in serving as a member of the board. One could safely assume that the majority of the community would support his/her appointment as there were only 3 votes between Candidate Two and Candidate Three during the last election. Besides, appointing the “runner up” from the previous election would be a non-political approach if a community has opposing internal factions.

Without knowing the results – How do you think the board in the example above acted?

If you are a CAI professional – How would you advise your board in this scenario?

If you are a board volunteer – How would you handle this situation?

In an effort to validate my approach – I consulted with some CAI industry pals who are managers, attorneys and community volunteers. To them, it made logical sense to review the previous election results and ask those who were not elected if they were interested in filling the vacancy. If so, appoint one of those folks to the board. This is the advice many of them have provided to various boards they work with or represent. Some commented that if one of the other candidates was willing to serve yet the board chose not to appoint them – the board was being political and not acting in the best interest of the community. Agree?

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Is Your HOA a Healthy One?

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