Terminology/Glossary

Assessments

Homeowner associations can compel homeowners to pay a share of common expenses, usually per-unit or based on square footage. These expenses generally arise from common property, which varies dramatically depending on the type of association. Some associations are, quite literally, towns, complete with private roads, services, utilities, amenities, community buildings, pools, and even schools. Many condominium associations consider the roofs and exteriors of the structures as the responsibility of the association. Other associations have no common property, but may charge for services or other matters.

Association Manager

  • Advise and provide administrative, managerial, and operational counsel to the association governing body

  • Exhibit professionalism and loyalty to the principal (the Board)

  • Exercise diligence in performing duties on the principals behalf

  • Account for financial activities covered by the Management Agreement

  • Perform onsite property inspections

  • Solicit and evaluate bids for association services

  • Supervise maintenance activities and contractor performance

  • Oversee and authorize payment for primary association services

  • Know and abide by Bylaws, recognizing the State agency that supervises the community associations

Board

Generally used for short meaning the "Board of Directors", or also used to define a body of representatives or executive decision makers, many times elected or appointed, tasked with decision making and policy institution and or enforcement.

Board Of Directors

In relation to an HOA, Community or other formal organization, a director is an officer (that is, someone who works for the company) charged with the conduct and management of its affairs. A director may be an inside director (a director who is also an officer or promoter or both) or an outside, or independent, director. The directors collectively are referred to as a board of directors. Sometimes the board will appoint one of its members to be the chair or president/chairperson of the board of directors, traditionally also called chairman or chairwoman.

Bylaws

A set of rules or guidelines regarding the operation of a non-profit corporation such as a Board. Bylaws generally set forth definitions of offices and committees involved with the Board of Directors. They can include voting rights, meetings, notices, and other areas involved with the successful operation of the Association.

CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions)

A real covenant is a legal obligation imposed in a deed by the seller of a home and or property upon the buyer of the real estate to do or not to do something. Such restrictions frequently "run with the land" and are enforceable on subsequent buyers of the property. Examples might be to maintain a property in a reasonable state of repair, to preserve a sight-line for a neighboring property, not to run a business from a residence, or not to build on certain parts of the property.

Many covenants are very simple and are meant only to protect a neighborhood from homeowners destroying trees or historic things or otherwise directly harming property values. Some can be more specific and strict, outlining everything a homeowner can do to the exterior of their home, including the number of non-familial tenants one may have, acceptable colors to re-paint the home, exactly when holiday decorations are allowed up, automobile placement or repair on property, satellite placement, etc.

Common Area/Grounds

The elements of building and grounds that all unit owners own jointly.

Condominium

A dwelling of two or more property units where the owner owns the interior space and, in common with other owners, owns a square foot ratio of the common areas, such as the grounds, hallways, stairways, lobby, mechanical systems of common areas, and parking and recreational areas.

Dues

A predetermined set of fees collected by HOAs, Community Associations, or divisons of property management for the upkeep of said organizations or neighborhoods in general. These fees are billed at intervals, sometimes by month, quarter, or annually.

Governing Documents

Governing Documents means the CC&Rs, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations and Articles of Incorporation (or Articles of Association).

Homeowners' Association

A Homeowners' Association (HOA) is a legal entity created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a community of homes. It is given the authority to enforce the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) and to manage the common amenities of the development. It allows the developer to end his responsibility over the community, typically by transferring ownership of the association to the homeowners after selling off a predetermined number of lots.

Generally accepted as a voluntary association of homeowners gathered together to protect their property values and to improve the neighborhood, a large percentage of U.S neighborhoods where free standing homes exist have an HOA. Most homeowners' associations are non-profit corporations, and are subject to state statutes that govern non-profit corporations and homeowners' associations.

Lien

A monetary claim made against a property for unpaid mortgage, taxes, contractor work, or other charges. A lien attaches to the property, not the owner, but must be recorded in the property records of the resident county.

Neighborhood Watch

An organized effort to streamline human resources and communication for owners within a Community, coordinating with local law enforcement to ensure safety and eliminate crime and suspicious activity. Effective Neighborhood watches are generally successful in reducing crime rates through organized community observation.

Reserve Account

Reserve accounts (also referred to as "reserve funds" or simply "reserves") are funds set aside by the homeowner association to pay for the replacement or repair of community property. Reserves are intended to prevent the need for special assessments.

Reserve Study

A reserve study is a study made of all the major capital systems in the association, "It evaluates how much life they have left and how much they're likely to cost when they wear out. From that, you can calculate how much money the association has to set aside each year to have enough to replace those items when they do wear out.

Single-family Home

A single-family detached home, or single-family home or detached house for short, also variously known as a single-detached dwelling or separate house (see below), is a free-standing residential building. Most single-family homes are built on lots larger than the structure itself, adding an area surrounding the house, which is commonly called a yard in North American English or a garden in British English. Garages can also be found on most lots. In older homes, they are typically detached, standing as a separate building, either near a driveway or facing an alley in urban areas. Newer homes in North America favor attached garages, often facing the street, as most recent developments do not include alleys.

Townhouse

A term used to describe an attached residential dwelling. A townhouse can be a planned development on a lot or a condominium.