A homeowner’s association can prove to be a tremendous benefit to individuals living within a townhouse. However, it’s best seen as something of a balancing game. To get the full benefit of a homeowner association one must understand the give and take relationship it exists within. Basically, to understand what a homeowner’s association does for people one must first understand what he or she needs to contribute to it.
The first thing one should do is inquire about specific homeowner association fees. The homeowner association, or HOA, usually operates through dues paid by people participating in the system. In a townhouse situation it’s rarely an optional choice. This is part of the reason why it’s important to understand the fees. People can only fully understand what the system can deliver if they know what resources are being put into it. The homeowners association management should make it easy to find out what one is required to pay. Likewise, the homeowners association management should also make it clear how often payments should be made. This will typically be on a month to month basis, quarterly or yearly.
It’s also important to keep in mind that fees will vary by location. New York for example would typically have much higher fees than Michigan. Likewise the extent of the services will determine how much needs to be charged in dues. The more one expects of the homeowners association the more they need to take in from dues.
If the nature of dues aren’t clear when one moves in then this should be the first order of business. One can of course simply ask about the fees. But it’s far better to make a formal request for the information to be made more readily accessible by the homeowners association. This will benefit both new and current residents alike.
Of course there are significant benefits to a homeowners association. The first thing a homeowners association offers to a townhouse community is an expectation of standards. It’s important to keep in mind that most people will find this constraining at one time or another. Almost everyone feels their one exception to the rule would be fine. But if that were allowed then there really wouldn’t be any rules on appearance being enforced at all. The homeowners association serves an important purpose of reminding everyone about the standards the community as a whole has agreed on. And if disagreements continue the next benefit of a homeowners association comes into play.
The HOC will step in to act as a mediator between parties who have come into conflict with each other. This is an important part of keeping up the peace in an area. The conflict resolution impacts the community in a number of positive ways. One of the most important comes from a sense of community. It’s very easy for people to carry resentment with them as time goes by. Neighbors who feel slighted by each other tend to forget their formally cordial or friendly relationship. The HOA gives neighbors a separate entity to hold responsible for decisions. This keeps the neighborly spirit alive and well even after a dispute has been resolved.
The dispute resolution process also helps to create improvements. For example, consider the case of someone who wants to put up solar panels. It might go against current guidelines. But in making a request the rules can be updated. This can even encourage other people to make positive changes such as implementing solar in their own home.
Finally, the homeowners association will handle shared community areas. This can include gardens, walking paths, smoking areas or even trash maintenance. This ensures that the area will always feel hospitable. Likewise, it helps to keep up the overall property value of the area.