Whether you’re new to HOA membership or you’ve been part of an association for years, homeowners association management is complex and ever-changing, so questions are bound to arise. We’re often asked what’s the best place to find information on HOAs and the answer is always, “it depends on your question.” Here are the most helpful resources to get the information you need.
Your community’s website contains a wealth of basic information that can answer many of the most commonly-asked questions. If you’re looking for quick answers about current events, assessment due dates, common area rules and schedule, payment information, or contact information for your property manager or management company, check your community website first. Many community websites also house copies of the association’s governing documents and are available for download.
Your property manager
Your homeowners association management company knows your association inside and out. Contact your manager with specific questions about daily operations, governing documents, and roles and responsibilities. Your homeowners association management company’s area of expertise includes:
- Governing documents: what’s covered, not covered?
- What are the roles and responsibilities of board members?
- What are the roles and responsibilities of your HOA management company?
- What are your rights as a member?
- Event planning and organization
- Website tools
- Payment information
- Information about vendors: schedules, services provided, etc.
- Vendor work order initiation
- Requests for service
If you’re not sure where to find the right answer to your question, your manager will point you in the right direction.
If you’re looking for information regarding a particular issue currently facing your community, be sure to attend your community’s board meetings. The frequency of board meetings will vary by association (contact your manager for the schedule), and attendance is your right of membership. Most meetings will reserve time for questions and public comment during an open Homeowner Forum, so feel free to address your questions directly with your board.
Community Associations Institute
The Community Associations Institute (CAI) is an international organization with local chapters dedicated to providing information and support services for homeowners and homeowners associations. Utilize CAI when you have general questions about HOA or management best practices, or laws and regulations in your area.
The CAI website contains a wealth of free helpful resources, including educational assets, industry insights and HOA advocacy. Membership is worth it, as it entitles your HOA to industry research and data. Your board can benefit from the multitude of resources available through CAI including classes, conferences and workshops designed to educate HOA board members. CAI is also a source of information and insights regarding statewide legislation that impacts homeowners associations.
Topics featured on the CAI website include:
- Vendor directories
- Public policies
- State & federal advocacy
- Local chapter directories
- Managerial & homeowner education
- Online forums
If you are a board member and have questions about contracts or other legal disputes, contact your HOA counsel. Your association’s attorneys can help your board navigate the complexities of the laws that apply to your HOA and offer advice about how to minimize the association’s risk of exposure.
For more general inquiries, Davis-Stirling.com is an online resource with information for association and board members, courtesy of the Adams Stirling law firm. The site is dedicated specifically to addressing issues related to the Davis–Stirling Common Interest Development Act, which is the section of the California Civil Code (Sec. 4000) that governs homeowners associations. This website is a useful starting point to find answers to code section questions, learn more about how to manage a dispute with your association, or research other legal topics.
Knowing where to find answers to your questions goes a long way toward being an effective board member or association member.
By Joe Winkler
Joe Winkler is a marketing executive with Keystone Pacific Property Management, of Irvine, which manages 300 California HOAs.