Establishing a homeowners association in your neighborhood is a great way to bind a community together and ensure everyone shares the same goals and expectations about where they live. Not to mention, the number of homeowners associations (also
known as HOAs) is rapidly growing in the United States.
Before you can begin a homeowners association election, it is important you understand the many ins and outs of how an HOA works.
An HOA is an organization that makes and enforces rules for residents within a subdivision or planned community. While they are typically formed by developers when a community is first constructed, they can also be created after the fact by existing members of a community.
If you want to create an HOA for an existing community, you may be faced with some questions you were not prepared for. These might include: Do HOA board members get paid? What are the local laws regarding HOAs? What is a proxy in a homeowners association?
Establishing any new organization can feel like a monumental and overwhelming task. Consulting with an elections specialist or someone experienced in founding associations can help ensure your HOA addresses the specific needs of your community.
We also recommend using ElectionBuddy, which has a menu of election-related services to guide you through this process and to make sure all your boxes are all ticked off.
This point is especially important if you are creating an HOA community from the ground up. You may already have an understanding of the permits and guidelines necessary in the construction of a community but may need more insights on the legalities of an HOA. For example, Oregon HOAs can be established as either nonprofit or for-profit entities. In most states, HOAs are registered as nonprofits by default, which is why it is imperative you check the regulations of your state.
You will also want to see if there is an established Property Owners Association, as it may or may not impact your HOA plans. A Property Owners Association, or POA (different from Power of Attorney), may necessitate a separate petition process.
Each state has its own regulations regarding the establishment of a new HOA. Here are some general steps that can be followed, although each situation will be different:
Being an officer or official of an HOA board comes with a high level of risk and responsibility. A legal consultant would be helpful in creating protections for board members in the event they are sued or accused of contract violations or discrimination.
Investing in directors' and officers' insurance can also provide financial protection to board members for events other than intentional misconduct.
There are many day-to-day operations of a community that an HOA and its board members are responsible for. This includes, but is not limited to:
While this article details many of the aspects of establishing a new HOA, it is still important to reach out for professional support to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Services provided by ElectionBuddy can ensure your organization is following best practices when it comes to establishing a fair and qualified board.