It is a non-profit corporation registered with the State and managed by a volunteer Board of Directors.
The primary purpose of a community association is to establish an entity that will preserve, maintain, enhance and protect the value of property and amenities within the boundaries of a specific community. It does this by maintaining common areas and governing the community in accordance with the provision of the legal documents: CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions); Bylaws; Use Restrictions and Rules; and Articles of Incorporation. It is financially supported by all members of the community association through payment of assessments. Membership is both automatic and mandatory.
The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are covenants imposed by a builder or developer that run with the land and detail how the community is to be governed. In a master-planned community, these rules provide stability and structure for the residential part of the project, which translates into improved property values for the members. The CC&Rs are a recorded document and are included in the title to your property.
The Bylaws are developed during creation of a non-profit corporation. They are the provisions that govern the internal management of the association and cover such topics as election of directors, the terms of the Directors, process for board and member meetings, the principal office of the homeowner’s association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the homeowner’s association.
The Use Restrictions and Rules are specific rules and requirements identifying the types of activities and/or conduct of the homeowners in a community association.
Copies of governing documents (CC&Rs, Bylaws, and Use Restrictions and Rules) can be obtained through the Association, Association website, or, if a recorded document, usually online through the County Recorder’s Office.
The term “common area” is generally used to describe elements within the community that are owned and maintained by the association, and dedicated to shared use and enjoyment by all owners.
The IHCA has developed Use Restrictions and Rules (URRs) as provided for in the CC&Rs and adopted by the Board of Directors. URRs are established to provide direction to the homeowners for common courtesies with regard to parking, vehicles, pets and park use hours, etc. In addition, the IHCA has adopted Architectural Guidelines with procedures for submitting requests to make exterior changes to your home (for example, landscaping, fences, exterior color changes or extensive interior changes and additions). These rules and guidelines are set up to maintain the aesthetic value and integrity of the community on behalf of all owners, and protect the market value of your investment as well.
And if so, where and when are they held? Yes. Notice of the time and place of any regular board meeting is noted in the monthly community Connections news(distributed by Highlands Council). Some portions of board and committee meetings can be closed if matters discussed are confidential in nature (for example, in the event of litigation).
Assessments are obligatory fees each home owner pays to fund their share of the common expenses benefiting all, or a portion of, the association. Base assessments are levied equally against all homes on the basis of a budget prepared annually by the Board covering the estimated costs of operating the association. Neighborhood assessments are fees paid by a homeowner to fund additional services for the neighborhood in which they live.
Homeowner’s assessments finance ongoing operation costs including landscape maintenance, park maintenance, maintenance of common areas, snow removal, utilities, insurance, management, administration, architectural control and violation enforcement. In addition, a capital reserve account is funded for long-term maintenance and repair of IHCA property.
Annual budgets (one base budget and multiple neighborhood budgets) are developed by the Board of Directors with the assistance of a resident-led finance committee. The budgets are calculated estimates of expenses for operations, capital costs and reserve for one fiscal year, and after adoption may be adjusted periodically to meet anticipated expenses.
The CC&Rs dictate the process by which the budget is drafted and approved by the Board. Homeowners are empowered by both the CC&Rs and by statute to “vote down” a proposed budget on an annual basis. The Board of Directors may amend the budget during the year as necessary and in compliance with the CCRs and state statute. Assessments can increase or decrease depending upon the income expected versus the estimated expenses to be incurred. For instance, while new homes “joining” the association add additional income, the new parks or additional services would increase expenses.
The maintenance and management services incurred by the IHCA are dependent upon timely receipt of the assessments from each homeowner. When homeowners fail to pay assessments, the IHCA has the right to charge late fees with interest, pursue a lien on property, or even foreclose.