MelodyMontero08 [at] gmail [dot] com
Homeowner Associations (HOA's) are varied, often complex and have varying degrees of control over properties within their jurisdictions. Generally, they are involved in condominium or Planned Unit (townhome) developments and mobile home parks and are set up to maintain those complexes and enforce the rules set up under the Convenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R's). These vary widely. In some the HOA's only maintian common areas like parking, pools and landscaping, but in other cases they may also maintain the exteriors of buildings, provide insurance, pay for some utilities, etc. The more the HOA's are responsible for, in general, the higher the dues.
HOA's are supposed to be fiscally responsible and have enough reserves to cover expenses, repairs and maintenance. Sometimes they have been or are underfunded and when major repairs are needed (repaving parking lots, replacing roofs, etc) then there can be special assesments charged and these can be expenseive for the homeowner. HOA's are run by elected boards, usually volunteer homeowners. They may hire management companies that will then run the maintenance, etc. for a few paid from the HOA dues that each property owner must pay. The HOA under the CC&R's may have a great deal of say over what can be done to your home and even what uses are allowed. Generally these rules are designed to keep a uniform look and quality but often can seem to infringe on what owners think they should be allowed to do. Want a skylight for that dark area? Want to paint you exterior a different color? Would you like a garden in front instead of a lawn? Would you like to rent your home as a vacation rental? Alll of these kinds of activities may or may not be regulated by your HOA