Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Assessment

Answer: It is a calculated share based on square footage or per unit, usually required to pay a common expense. These expenses can be calculated outside of the association’s fiscal budget, and can vary dramatically depending on the type of association and the purpose of the assessment.

Are ''Maintenance Fees” different than “Assessments?”

Answer: Yes, a maintenance fee is usually paid monthly with the funding used for the general upkeep of the community, i.e. taxes, contractor services, utilities, amenities, insurance, community buildings etc. An assessment is usually a one-time charge to a “maintenance fee” account, and is sometimes payable over a period of time. Maintenance Fees and Assessments are collected by HOAs, Community Associations, or divisions of property management. Cooperatives sometimes refer to these fees as “carrying charges.

What is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?

Answer: A Homeowners’ Association (HOA) is a legal entity created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a community of homes.

What is Transition?

Answer: It is the final stage of a developer’s ownership and or responsibility over the community. The process involves transferring of ownership of the association to the homeowners after a majority percentage of the units have been sold. All forms of governing documentation are forwarded to the association.

What is a Community Association?

Answer: A community association is a non-governmental association of participating volunteer members of a community, such as a neighborhood, village, condominium, cooperative, or group of homeowners or property owners in a delineated geographic area.

What is a Cooperative?

Answer: A Cooperative is a multi-unit residence where each occupant acquires a share(s) of the dwelling and therefore is supplied either a stock certificate listing such shares, and or a proprietary lease that allows them to reside in the unit. Each resident is referred to as a shareholder and does not own the actual unit.

What is a Managing Agent?

Answer: A Managing Agent is a person or entity hired specifically to assist the board of directors in enforcing the documents and managing the assets, funds, and interests of the association.

What is a Property Management Company and what do they do?

Answer: A property management company is usually contracted by a Developer or a Board of Directors and assumes the role of the Managing Agent. The Managing Agent will assist the board of directors in the administration and execution of the governing documents, management of assets, funding, and general interests of the Association. This may include services not limited to collecting assessments, contractor and project management, financial analysis, reporting, and advisement, general maintenance, problem resolution, advisement on legal and other property related matters.

Does my community have an Association Management Company, and if so, how do I contact them?

Answer: Reach out to your association’s Board of Directors. Once located, it is beneficial to review the property management company’s website, as there is likely information provided that may answer some of your questions. Most property management companies can be found online or in a phone book.

What is a Proxy?

Answer: A representative that is given the authorization to act or vote on behalf of a unit owner at a meeting. The title can also refer to the legal piece of paper granting that power.

What is a Quorum?

Answer: A Quorum is the minimum number of owners required to hold an official meeting of the association.

What is a Board of Directors?

Answer: In relation to an HOA, Community or other formal organization, a Board of Directors is the governing body in place to uphold the rules, regulations, and quality of life within a given association. The governing body is collectively referred to as a board of directors, and are generally elected or appointed.


How do I contact my Board of Directors?

Answer: It is usually more efficient to reach your Board of Directors through the community manager assigned to your property.

What is CAI?

Answer: Founded in 1973, Community Associations Institute or CAI, is an international entity specializing in the education and empowerment of community associations and property management firms. CAI members include association board members and other homeowner volunteer leaders, community managers, association management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to associations, such as attorneys, accountants and various specialists and professionals. Visit or call (888) 224-4321 for more information.

What are Governing Documents?
Answer: The bylaws, master deed, operating rules, articles of incorporation combine to make what is called the Public Offering Statement or POS. This would include any other documents which govern the normal operating procedures of an association.
What Are By-laws?

Answer: A section included in the POS providing rules or guidelines regarding the operation of a non-profit corporation such as a Board. Bylaws provide definitions of offices and committees involved with the Board of Directors. They can include voting rights, meeting procedure, and other areas involved with the operation of the Association.

What is the Master Deed?

Answer: A section included in the POS providing a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions. It describes an owner’s responsibilities to the association which can include payment of dues and assessments as well as the association’s various duties to the owners. It is common viewed as somewhat of a ‘constitution’ of the association.

What is a Lien?

Answer: A monetary claim levied against a property for unpaid mortgage, taxes, assessments, maintenance fees, or other charges. A lien is attached to the property, not the owner. Once executed, a lien may need to be updated periodically.

What is an Easement?

Answer: An interest or a right in real property which grants the ability to a landowner to use the land of another for a special purpose or endeavor. A public utility may also have an easement for maintenance or repair work to be executed at a future date.

What are Ordinances?

Answer: An Ordinance is an individual set of laws adopted by local government at the county and city level.

What is an ADR?

Answer: It means Alternate Dispute Resolution. It is a process by which litigation is used to resolve a dispute between resident and or an association. The litigation is either mediation whereas a mutual agreement is made, or arbitration whereas there is testimony and evidence presented.

What is a Common Area?

Answer: Any area of improved real property intended for the exclusive shared use by the members of an association. An example would be a hallway or elevator.

What is limited Common Element?

Answer: Any area or fixture that has been designated for use by a specific unit, however, is owned by the condominium association. An example would be a balcony.