Have you ever attended a meeting and had no clue what was going on? It’s an awkward position to be in, especially if you're trying to understand and contribute to the conversation. Be in the know and wow your board members when you attend your next HOA board meeting by reviewing these common terms that are sure to come up.
Annual Disclosures – In compliance with California Civil Codes the annual disclosures are yearly notices which are required to be distributed to the HOA community.
Assessments/HOA Fees – Monthly fees owners pay the homeowners association to help cover maintenance services and amenities.
Bylaws – the governing guides of how the HOA operates as an organization. They should cover things like how often you have meetings, how many people are on the board, how often you have to have membership meetings, and what's a quorum.
CC&Rs – Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions are limitations and rules placed on a group of homes by a builder, developer, neighborhood association and/or homeowners association that govern what an owner may, may not, or must do with respect to the real estate property.
Davis-Stirling Act – The Davis–Stirling Common Interest Development Act is the popular name of the portion of the California Civil Code beginning with section 4000, which governs condominium, cooperative, and planned unit development communities in California.
Fiduciary Duty – is the highest standard of care imposed under law, and it occurs when one or more persons are responsible for the money or property of another. The fiduciary is expected to be honest, free from fraud and faithful to his or her obligations; an ethical and a legal obligation the HOA board has to make decisions in the best interests of the entire Association.
HOA manager – a professional who provides guidance to the Board and members of the Association, handles the day-to-day issues that arise for the homeowners association, provides assistance to the Board, and typically manages the financials, business needs, public relations, operations, and compliance with the law for the HOA.
HOA Rules & Regulations – an extension of the CC&Rs, the HOA rules and regulations tend to be a primary document for laying out expected conduct within the community and are set in place by the HOA board for the best interest of the Association community as a whole.
Homeowners association – an organization of homeowners in a specific subdivision, condominium or planned unit development, who all have a common interest where they’re living. The purpose of a homeowners association is to protect, maintain and enhance the homes and property.
Quorum – A quorum is the minimum number of members who must be at a meeting before business can be transacted.
Reserve Specialist – the professional who has the qualifications to perform the reserve study. Professional reserve study providers are extensively trained before they are considered qualified to perform a competent reserve study on a particular homeowners association. These professionals have met stringent requirements and are held to high standards. They have a thorough knowledge of common interest developments, HOAs, and community associations, and can provide the HOA board with sound guidance.
Reserve Study – A reserve study is a complex document that projects when numerous major components in a homeowners association will need to be replaced, what it will cost to replace them, and how much the association will need to set aside each year to pay for the upkeep when necessary. This could include roads, roofs, painting, swimming pool upkeep, landscape replacement or any long-term assets that requires periodic maintenance.
Special Assessment – required extra fees that are collected from owners when the Association needs to make essential repairs, improvements or additions to the common elements, but lacks extra reserve funds to cover the costs.
Staying informed is an important part of living in a homeowners association and attending HOA board meetings is one of the best ways to stay informed. Keep this list handy in case you need to reference it at your next meeting, and in the meantime, rest assured you’ll never be in the dark again!