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Oct 19, 2023

Debunking Common Misconceptions About Living in a Community Association

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Orr - CEO, Community Association Management Services

Community associations are often the subject of various misconceptions. Some may perceive them as bureaucratic and overbearing. However, these perceptions disregard the underlying reasons for associations and overlook living in a community association's many benefits and positive aspects. This article will debunk some common misconceptions about community associations and highlight their advantages for a harmonious, well-managed living environment.

Misconception:  We should dissolve the HOA
A community association is a legal entity that operates within state statutes. The association essentially functions as a type of local government for the small community, managing things that were previously taken care of by municipal workers.  The association’s governing documents are established when the developer plans the community, and they run with the land, which means they are binding and the property is subject to the covenants, conditions, and restrictions in the document. Because the association is often responsible for shared common elements, it is generally not an option to dissolve the association, and owners cannot opt out of association obligations in the same way we cannot opt out of paying taxes.

Misconception:  HOA Rules Are Unreasonable and Too Strict
One of the most widespread misconceptions about community associations is that their rules are overly strict and unreasonable. In reality, these rules are in place to create a harmonious living environment and to prevent common issues like unkempt properties, noisy neighbors, and parking disputes. While you may question the existence of some rules, they are designed to ultimately contribute to a more peaceful community. Community associations aim to strike a balance between preserving property values and ensuring that residents can enjoy their homes without undue disruptions.

Misconception: HOAs Aren't Suited for Younger Buyers
Another misconception is that HOA communities are not well-suited for younger buyers, particularly millennials, who continue to make up a large portion of homebuyers. However, community associations often provide amenities and features that can greatly appeal to this demographic. Many communities offer upgraded amenities such as pools, clubhouses, fitness centers, and parks, providing plenty of activities for all residents, including families with children. These facilities can foster a sense of community and create an environment where children and adults can get to know their neighbors.

Community associations have been evolving to meet the technological needs and preferences of younger generations. Many now offer online platforms for paying assessments, submitting requests, and even voting on community matters, making it easier for those who are tech-savvy to participate in their community's decision-making processes.

Misconception: Residents Have No Control Over Community Decisions
Contrary to popular belief, community association residents have a say in community decisions. They can actively participate by joining committees, voting for board members during elections, and attending meetings. The board should work hard to facilitate open communication and ensure that the concerns and preferences of residents are heard and considered in decision-making processes.

In community associations, transparency is key, and residents are encouraged to provide feedback and get involved. This gives members a sense of ownership in the neighborhood's development.

Misconception: Board Members Only Look Out for Their Interests
Some people may believe that board members primarily act in their interest or that of their friends in the neighborhood. However, board members have a fiduciary obligation to make decisions that are in the best interest of the community as a whole. Board members often have a code of ethics to ensure that they act impartially.

Board members are volunteers who commit their time to serve their neighbors and maintain the quality of life within the community. While they may have opinions and preferences, their ultimate responsibility is to make decisions that benefit all homeowners and protect property values.

Misconception: The Community Manager Controls the Association
The role of the community manager is often misunderstood. The community manager does not have the authority to make decisions for the board. The board governs on behalf of the association, and the manager carries out tasks according to the management agreement with the community, which can dictate various aspects of their roles, including the frequency of inspections, the cost of late fees, and other operational details.

Community managers serve as liaisons between the volunteer board and residents, making it easier for homeowners to obtain quick answers to their questions, submit ARC requests, and report maintenance issues. They play a crucial role in ensuring that the community's day-to-day operations run smoothly and that residents' needs are met efficiently.

Conclusion
Living in a community association can bring many benefits despite the common misconceptions surrounding them. Community associations play a vital role in maintaining a harmonious living environment, offering upgraded amenities, and involving residents in community decisions. While some misconceptions may exist, it is important to recognize the positive aspects of community association living and understand how these associations can enhance the quality of life for owners. By actively participating in the community and fostering open communication, residents can help shape their neighborhood into a thriving and enjoyable place to call home.

About Community Association Management Services
In business since 1991, CAMS is North and South Carolina’s premier community management company. With experienced local managers in each of its nine regions, CAMS provides innovative solutions to the community associations it serves. Additionally, CAMS was featured on Inc. Magazine’s 2022 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. To learn more, visit www.camsmgt.com/choose-cams.

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