Do I need approval to make exterior improvements to my property?
Yes. Any alterations or additions to the exterior of your property must be approved in writing by the Architectural Review Committee (ARC).
Can the HOA restrict the types of improvements made to my home?
Yes, depending on the governing documents, your HOA may have certain architectural or design guidelines and restrictions. You are required to submit Architectural Request Submittal Form, Neighbor Awareness Form, and copy of plans and specifications for approval to the Architectural Review Committee prior to starting your project. Gaining approval ensures that your changes help maintain the integrity of the community.
What is the Architectural Review Committee (ARC)?
The Architectural Review Committee reviews applications for exterior improvements to the home or lot. The ARC is established and defined in the Declaration Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions for the association. The spirit behind the ARC is to uphold the aesthetic quality of the neighborhood and to protect the value of your home by maintaining the standards set forth in the Declaration.
What if I make changes to my property without ARC approval?
Everyone must seek ARC approval in writing before making external changes to their property. If you make changes without ARC approval, your investment could be at risk. Additionally, if your modifications are outside the guidelines of the ARC, you may be required to remove or reverse your improvement.
If I get a building permit from the city/country, do I still need ARC approval?
Yes. Approval from the city/county does not constitute approval from the ARC.
What is my assessment?
The assessment is the periodic amount due from each homeowner to cover the operating expenses of the common area and provide for reserve funds for replacement of common facilities in future years.
How is the amount of my assessment determined?
The Department of Real Estate in each state typically requires an initial budget from the developer for each community that a developer proposes to build. This budget is set upon specific guidelines for utilities, landscaping, administration, etc. Reserve funds are monies set aside for future expenses due to the life expectancy of certain items: lighting, street resurfacing, pool equipment, etc. These amounts are then divided by the number of units built in a given phase of the development. Subsequent budgets are developed by the Board of Directors each year and adjusted periodically to meet anticipated expenses.
Will my assessment go up?
There is no concrete answer to this. Typically the governing documents allow for assessments to be adjusted based on the HOA’s annual budget. The Board of Directors may approve an increased budget in order to cover increased costs of operating and maintaining the common area and sufficient reserve funds. The laws governing HOA’s requires the annual budget be ratified by its members. This is the homeowners opportunity to ask questions as to how the budget changes will affect your assessments.
What happens if I don’t pay my assessment?
The maintenance and management services incurred by the Association are dependent upon timely receipt of the assessments due from each homeowner. Late payments will result in a late charge. In addition, the CC&R’s allows the Association to charge late charges and interest and proceed with a lien on your property, or foreclosure proceeding for nonpayment of assessments.
How much money should be in my association’s reserves?
Reserves are essential to successful financial management in community associations. Determining how much should be in your reserves is a complex process that depends on several factors including the physical needs of your community. For best results, you should have a reserve study done by a qualified professional who can provide the answer.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Who are the Board of Directors and what do they do?
The Board of Directors is comprised of elected homeowners who oversee the management, physical assets, operating and reserve budgets, contracts, and liabilities of the HOA. The Association Board is the business management body of the HOA, responsible for making decisions, which will affect the value of your home. They meet frequently to review policies and make decisions about finances, common area maintenance, legal issues, committee proposals, and countless issues affecting the community as a whole. They also supervise a professional Community Manager engaged by the Association to manage the day-to-day affairs. The Board welcomes those who attend its scheduled meetings and is receptive to ideas and requests; therefore, your input is important.
If I want to serve on a committee, how do I find out what committees are active and how I can get involved?
Attend the next Board meeting and let them know of your availability or contact your community manager.
What are the CC&R’s?
The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) are the governing legal documents that set up the guidelines for the operation of the planned community as a non-profit corporation. The CC&R’s were recorded by the County recorder’s office and are included in the title to your property. Failure to abide by the CC&R’s may result in a fine to a homeowner by the Association.
What are the Bylaws?
The Bylaws are the guidelines for the operation of the non-profit corporation. The Bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the Board of Directors, the terms of the Directors, the membership’s voting rights, required meetings and notices of meetings, and the principal office of the association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the association as a business.
Are there any other rules?
Most associations have developed Rules and Regulations as provided for in the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) and adopted by the Board of Directors. Rules are established to provide direction to the homeowners for common courtesies with regard to parking, vehicles, pets, pool use hours, etc. In addition, your Association will adopt Architectural Guidelines with procedures for submitting requests to make exterior changes to your home. Such changes may include patio covers, patios, landscaping, 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 to protect the market value of your investment. Violations of these rules may result in action by the Board of Directors, which may include a fine being assessed. In addition, if you proceed with an exterior improvement or change, without written approval of the Board of Directors, or Architectural Committee, as applicable, you will be required to remove or correct the alteration and/or be fined for the violation.
Do I have to abide by the rules of my association? After all, I own my home.
Yes. Implied in the purchase of a home in a community association is the agreement to abide by the rules. However, these rules keep the community attractive and livable, and they help maintain property values.
Are the rules in place to settle homeowner disputes?
No. Unless the problem is one causing a common area problem or a direct violation, homeowner disputes should be settled between the parties involved. Your Board is not in place to serve as referee between neighbors. In any community, whether governed by an Association or not, homeowners run into personality clashes, pet problems, and other neighborhood issues. Often, the problem can be easily resolved to the satisfaction of both parties with no hard feelings and with the use of open communication between the parties
What is a homeowners association?
A homeowners association is a non-profit corporation registered with the State and managed by a duly elected Board of Directors. Its purpose is to maintain all common areas and to govern the community in accordance with the provision of the legal documents: CC&R’s, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation. The corporation is financially supported by all members of the homeowners association. Membership is both automatic and mandatory.
What is a “management company,” what do they do, and how do I reach them?
LVVCM is a management company and is contracted by a Board of Directors to provide such services as: Collection of assessments, supervision of subcontractors, obtaining bids for subcontracted services, providing financial statements and collection reports, general clearing house for problem solving, communicating with homeowners and the Board of Directors and to serve in an advisor capacity. The management company reports directly to the Board and all decisions are made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. Our contact information is located on this website.
Are Board Meetings open to all residents? If so, where and when are they held?
Board meetings are open to all residents of an association. Notice of the date, time and place of any regular board meeting will be sent to all legal owners usually 10 to 14 days before the meeting.