If you are part of a California Homeowners Association, the time to send out your budget and disclosure package is 30 to 90 days before your new fiscal year begins. For those who have a January to December fiscal year, now is the time! Please see the following suggestions to get you over the hump.
First, contact your reserve study company, if you have not already done so. It will work with you and give you the amount of each assessment that should go into the reserve account. This is crucial to keep you on track so that you have the needed funds in your reserve account for expected and planned projects.
The reserve company will also provide needed disclosures related to your homeowners association and your reserves (see Davis-Stirling sections §5550 - §5580). These will be a part of your overall disclosure package.
For your operating budget, plan on the normal expenses you incur and add in expected increases for water, power, insurance, and other items (you can find out what cost increases are expected by contacting these entities). Be realistic, and don’t try skimp. It will catch up to you in the end. Using your current year expenses, and perhaps the previous year final totals, will be a help in thinking through and planning for the upcoming year.
Once you have your overall draft budget put together, it must be approved by the HOA board. Once approved, the budget, reserve disclosures, and all other required disclosures may be sent out to your members. This must be completed at least 30 days before the end of your current fiscal year.
Please find a list of necessary disclosures, in addition to the reserve disclosures from your reserve company, in the Davis-Stirling Act (California Civil Code), in section §5300 - §5310.
As a homeowners association in California, there are many requirements as to timing and disclosures to stay compliant with the law. If you are part of a self-managed association especially, you may find it very difficult to stay on top of all of these requirements.
We wish you the best in your budget planning and disclosure process, and if you need help, we would be happy to speak with you.
Download the free cheat sheet below to have while you're working on your Association budget!