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What does HOA Membership look like?

So now that you’re in, what should an HOA do for you? HOAs, or homeowner’s associations, are groups of people  within a certain type of real estate development that establishes and enforces rules and regulations for that community.  Typically the HOA has a board of elected, volunteer officials.  HOA members are composed of the homeowners, who all adhere to the same rules, regulations, privileges and protections provided by that HOA.   What kinds of services are offered by my HOA? HOA functions include property maintenance, such as landscaping and snow shoveling, garbage removal, pool cleaning, laundry machines, and many more.  As important as the services and shared communal spaces within an HOA, are the efforts made by the HOA at maintaining property values.  Dues collected overtime go into HOA reserves for investments that affect communities at large.  Examples are window or water riser replacements, property expansion, and new amenities. At the same time, HOAs can limit members and their efforts at individual property altering, otherwise known as Common restrictive covenants (CRCs). For example, in efforts to maintain property values through cohesive aesthetic measures, and HOA may require all fences within a community be white-picketed and thus, block a member from installing a less-expensive, chain-linked fence.   Do I have a voice in my HOA? HOAs have plenty of rules and bylaws.  These rules are intended to protect all the human rights of the HOA members, and should be applied equally to all. Be sure to get to know these well in order to avoid sanctions or fines. It is equally important to know when board meetings are held for important votes and decision making for your HOA.  Participation and voting is an essential component to ensuring your voice is heard within an HOA. For this reason, Kohab designed a virtual voting and communication platform so all members can participate in key discussions, votes, and communicate effectively with other members, board, and property staff.  At Kohab, we call this platform, “Technology with a Heart.”  We want to ensure that you are as happy every day in your home and community as we want to be. To better understand HOA rules and regulations, check out these helpful links:   https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/homeowners-guide-to-hoas-homeowners-associations/#can-you-change-restrictive-covenants
August 2020

Becoming a Homeowner within an HOA

Meet Lauren, a first-time homeowner, learning everything there is to know about buying a new home and being a member of a homeowner’s association. Buying your first home or finding your dream home is no small thing- it’s life changing.   Below, we’ve outlined the a-b-c’s of homeowner’s associations (HOAs) so you can make the best decisions about your purchase and navigate the rules and regulations of HOA communities. A. HOA members are elected from among the residents and serve to maintain grounds, master insurance, community utilities, as well as the overall finances of the building complex or community. Important questions to ask:
  • How often are board votes held?
  • How does the HOA handle conflicts with residents?
  • Does the HOA have green provisions?
  • Are there parking restrictions?
  • Does the HOA have rules for fences?
B. HOAs will require all unit owners to pay a monthly maintenance charge and may also demand special one-time assessments to cover large community expenses.  What kind of questions to ask:
  • How much are dues?
  • How often are they assessed?
  • What are the average increases over time?
  • How often are there special assessments?
  • Is building maintenance included?
C. Amenities, such as access to a pool, gym, golf course, laundry, security or lounge are often included with HOA dues.  When looking at a property that has an HOA, the first thing you should consider is what’s included.
  • What amenities are included?
  • Does HOA maintain landscaping?
While we’ve designed this post to make your house-hunting easier, we’ve also created KOHAB to make living in an HOA easier, with transparency into all of the components above. If you’d like more information about buying into an HOA, check out these helpful links: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/homeowners-associations-tips.asp
Take Action - Discrimination Not Tolerated!

Take Action – Discrimination Not Tolerated!

Meet Ingrid, the HOA Board President.  As president, Ingrid leads the Board and is responsible for overseeing and handling many of its procedural duties. In order to succeed in this role, the Board president must be knowledgeable about the community’s CC&Rs and governing documents and understand how to run an effective meeting.  He or she serves as the authority on all association rules and governing documents, and appoints committees if dictated by the bylaws.  The president also leads community and association meetings, handling such responsibilities as calling the meeting to order, announcing the agenda and ensuring adherence, maintaining attendee order and decorum,  proposing questions, calling for votes and announcing the results, and recognizing others to speak on the floor. Most importantly, Ingrid is responsible for developing a code of conduct within an HOA, that extends beyond the board to all community members.  Establishing a code of conduct within Kohab is easy, and at top of the list states “discrimination will not be tolerated. For more information, check out Code of Ethics ohttps://www.echo-ca.org/article/ethics-code-hoa-board-members
Fair Housing Policies

More than Numbers: Fair Housing Policies

Meet Michael, the HOA Board Treasurer.  He is responsible for the association’s funds, securities and financial records.  He oversees billing, collections and disbursement of funds, and coordinates the development of the association’s proposed annual operating budget and reserve allocations.  In addition, the treasurer is responsible for monitoring the budget and reporting on the association’s financial status throughout the year, as well as for overseeing year-end reporting and any required audits. In self-managed communities, in which many of the day-to-day financial responsibilities are handled by a property management company, the treasurer is responsible for ensuring that all association funds are collected, disbursed, invested and reported accurately and remain in compliance at all times with the association’s by-laws and governing documents. To Michael, we are more than a number.  We are people and neighbors who deserve equal protection, access, and prioritization.  Which is why Michael adopted Kohab: to provide transparency and access to financial information to all HOA members. For more information, check out the resources below:
HOA Rights are Humans Rights

HOA Rights are Humans Rights

Meet Tabitha, HOA Vice President. She shares many of the leadership and procedural duties with the president, including assuming the leadership role when the president is unable to do so.  The vice president’s responsibilities include ensuring order is maintained during meetings and parliamentary procedures, ensuring a smooth flow of business and serving as an informed source about association rules, bylaws and governing documents.  Tabitha’s objective is to ensure that the HOA protects all of its members, against bias, discrimination, or unfair treament.  Kohab helps Tabitha provide transparency of HOA laws and ethical standards by publishing all rules and bylaws, meeting notes and decisions, and giving equal voting access to all members. For morning information,check out the Equal Opportunity Fair Housing Act: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/fair_housing_rights_and_obligations
Neighborhoods Matter

People Matter, Neighborhoods Matter

Meet Dwight, the HOA secretary.  Dwight is the glue that holds HOA boards together, they are responsible for all correspondence within an HOA.  He  maintains the association’s meeting minutes and official records, reviewing and updating documents as required and ensuring they are stored safely and accessible to association members. He or she is responsible for providing proper notice of meetings, as well as distributing documents, such as official records, agendas and meeting minutes, on a timely basis to association members and/or their authorized representatives. In addition, as the custodian of the association’s official records and documents, the secretary ensures the association meets all legal documentation requirements, such as annual filing deadlines.  Dwight loves how seamlessly he can communicate on Kohab’s platform, delivering consistent messages and prioritization of issues throughout his HOA community.  More importantly, Dwight values how transparent Kohab requires communications to be. To better understand how HOA laws provide protections to homeowners, check out :https://www.hopb.co/federal-laws