Building a successful homeowner’s association is very much like building a house. In order for it to be totally functional, it must begin with a solid foundation. Clear and unambiguous HOA documents are an important part of that foundation. They specify how business is conducted, set guidelines for how board members are elected, and ensure that the association is compliant with state laws.
Here is a look into the critical documents that every HOA needs to guide their operations effectively:
Articles of Incorporation
The necessary HOA documents usually begins with the Articles of Incorporation. This is a short document that gives the association a valid legal identity. The Articles of Incorporation is filed with the Secretary of State’s office in order to give the organization legitimate legal standing and establish it as the governing body of the HOA.
The Articles (as the document is sometimes called) contains the following information about the organization:
- The HOA’s corporate name
- Its geographic location
- Its tax filing status (most generally not-for profit mutual benefit corporation)
- The name and address of the association’s agent (that designated individual to whom all official correspondence, tax documents, and governmental notifications must come.)
In addition to the Articles, Association By-Laws are important HOA documents that lay out, in very specific detail, the way in which the HOA runs. It is the “policies and procedures” manual that makes the rights and responsibilities clear for all involved parties. It is important that all members read and understand the by-laws and agree to uphold them.
This HOA document includes, but is not limited to, information about:
- Rights and responsibilities of members
- Rights and responsibilities of the HOA
- Voting procedures
- Board of directors elections, term limits, and the timing of meetings
- Maintenance responsibilities of HOA
- Maintenance responsibilities of Members
- Building specifications and restrictions
- How dues and HOA assessments are billed and collected
The Association By-Laws lay out the rights and responsibilities of members of an HOA, which includes voting procedures. Voting is an important part of any HOA or community association as it gives each homeowner a voice. By casting a vote for preferred board members, homeowners are able to collectively choose who will manage the daily responsibilities and finances of the community as a whole.
HOA voting processes can be tedious and overwhelming for those running it, and it’s only expected to get more difficult. The good news is that companies like Page Per Page can lend a hand to take off a little of the load.
Page Per Page offers years of expertise in the printing and mailing of HOA documents, including ballots. Additionally, Page Per Page created a platform called Association Vote that takes HOA voting online.
Instead of paper ballots, Association Vote allows HOA’s to:
- Alert voters of a new ballot by email, mail, or both
- Cast a vote on-the-go
- Track results in real-time
Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R’s)
Of all the crucial documents that every HOA needs, this one carries the most weight. The CC&R’s are the meat and potatoes of any HOA, filled with information including all-important rules and regulations.
The CC&Rs include information such as:
- How often homeowners must mow their lawns
- What style fences may be allowed and where they may be sited
- Placement of satellite dishes
- Permissibility of pets
- The HOA’s power in terms of handling restrictions, enforcement, and dispute resolution
It is in this document that other significant provisions can also be found. For example, this is where exceptions or amendments to the founding documents are detailed as and when they are formally enacted.
The CC&R’s layout the rules and regulations in each HOA or community association, but what happens when homeowners disregard them? The first step in an HOA exercising its authority to enforce the CC&R’s is to send a Non-Compliance Notice. A Non-Compliance Notice alerts the homeowner of the violation and gives them reasonable time to fix the issue.
It’s important that notices are sent without delay so that violations are quickly resolved. Page Per Page can also send out these types of HOA documents for you. Page Per Page mails late notices, demands, and non-compliance notices with a one day guarantee, which allows the HOA to focus on other important matters.
Make Your HOA Documents Accessible
Having the appropriate HOA documents in your back pocket is an important part of running a successful association, but it’s helpful to have a place where they’re easily accessible for your homeowners.
HOAMPAGE is a customizable website platform made specifically for associations that can give homeowners instant access to all their relevant HOA documents online. Some of the best HOA websites utilize an online document library for easy access and effective communication with homeowners.
In addition to storing your HOA documents online with HOAMPAGE, continue building clear and consistent communication with your homeowners by letting Page Per Page handle your printing and mailing needs. Whether you’re sending newsletters, assessments, ballots or notices, Page Per Page can design and mail any communications for you, making the entire process effortless.
With decades of experience working with community associations, the proven professionals at Page Per Page know the industry well and deliver the most professional looking mail to homeowners.