What is a homeowners association?

Homeowners associations (HOAs) are organizations which deal with the upkeep of a neighborhood’s common areas and establish standards of acceptable behavior for a community. While they all share a common purpose, the level of activity HOAs undertake and other characteristics vary somewhat from community to community, depending on state and local laws and traditions.

Most HOAs are run by a board, which is typically made up of volunteers elected by their fellow owners. Depending on the size of the neighborhood and how extensive a role the board takes, a board may be organized into committees. The board may have officers, with the most common roles being secretary, treasurer, president and vice president.

HOA board meetings typically follow formal rules and set agendas. How well the HOA sticks to its rules of how to discuss issues may vary somewhat, depending on the level of involvement from owners in the community, among other factors. Some matters may need a vote by all the HOA members to decide, while others only require a vote of the board, depending on how it is structured.

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