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Subject: First Time homeowner/first Homeowner's association
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Author Messages
(North Carolina)


12/02/2005 9:12 AM  
I need help.
My husband and I purchased a 3br townhome on January 31, 2005. After months of inquiring, I was finally able to attend a HOA meeting last week (November 29, 2005). Needless to say, I was very disappointed. We live in a new development ( Some of the units are still not finished). There are about 70 townhomes and only 7 inidividual attended, counting myself. The builder is a member of the board along with 2 homeowners in the community. There appears to be a fued between the builder and the 2 board members. The board members feel like their concerns and/or issues have not been addressed by the builder and the builder feels that all the board members want to do is complain instead of working to make their community a nice place to live. I called the builder several months ago with some of my questions and concerns and he suggested I become a board member of the homeowner's association. However, being a first time homeowner and first time homeowner association member, I am not familiar with the roles and responsibilities of a board member and needless to say I do not want to be put in the middle of this fued, where I am force to take sides. I am dedicated to making out community the best community possible for all homeowners, so I will need to do what is necessary to make this happen. I am scheduled to meet with the builder on Tuesday, December 7th. I requested that builder provide me with all backgroun information on our homeowner's association and he provided me with a copy of document entitled " Declaration of Convenants, Conditions and Restrictions for Our Townhome Community( Name of community witheld for purposes of confidentiality)" I need help in understanding the functions of HOA. The two board members are unwilling to help because they are too caught up in their anger with the builder, but my approach is this is our community, we can not wait for the builder, we have to research to see what our options are if our best interests are not being met. Please help.

Desperate and Concerned,



12/02/2005 6:48 PM  
Welcome to normal homeowner association life! It is a wonder any HOA functions at all. I have lived in condos all of my life. Every one has people fighting among one another, fighting the board, and fighting the management company. This is, unfortunately how it is....enjoy...


12/02/2005 7:14 PM  
NicoleS, with your attitude I think you would make a good Board member. It is important to have people like you serve.

Besides the Declaration ask for a copy of the Bylaws and Rules and Regulations (if there are any). These plus the Articles of Incorporation are HOA controlling documents (along with federal, state, and municipal restrictions). Check the Articles to see there is a good "corporate shield" which protects Board members. Also, as a Board member make sure the association has good insurance which covers you. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility so there is potential liability. So make sure your actions and decisions are done in good faith.

The hoatalk board is a good place to get help!

Good Luck,


12/06/2005 3:01 AM  
Nicole, you are on the right path, so don't be discouraged. There are many resources available for assistance in learning the role and responsibilities of the board member.

First, it appears that your HOA has not transitioned yet to the homeowners and is still under the control of the builder/developer. Check the Delaration to determine at what point the developer must turn over the control to the homeowners who are the members of the HOA. Usually this occurs at a given percentage or number of lots sold by the developer. Also, read the Bylaws closely in addition to the Declaration, for these documents set out the principal legal factors in governing the specific association. By the way, the association's governing documents should have been provided to you when you purchased your property in the association.

Second, there is a vast wealth of information available to homeowners in an association and to board members, committee members, and anyone interested in good community association governance. The Community Associations Institute, a non-profit, national organization, with local chapters, is an excellent source of information. I encourage you to go to CAI's website ( and to peruse the site. You will find many excellent publications in CAI's bookstore online. Your local library may have some or most of these publications as well. Also, you could read some of the Volunteer and Homeowner Education "courses" online at the website (at no cost), noting many references cited in those materials, including the "Best Practices" and "GAP Reports." The video called "The Board," or a similar title, is highly recommended.

Another valuable source of help is the local CAI Chapter if there is one in your area. You could check this at the CAI website. If there is a chapter in your locale, call the chapter's office, or visit its website, and determine its schedule of events. Non-members typically may attend at a cost slightly above the members' rate, so it is a means to see what is of interest to you and whether to become a CAI member. Probably the most useful to you initially would be the course that is at Level Three of the four Volunteer and Homeowner Education courses, which was formerly entitled "ABCs: A Basic Course for Community Associations," and now titled "Essentials." This course is offered by the chapters at the local level and at a low cost. An outline of the course is on the CAI website. By the way, individual memberships in CAI are only $100, and some associations fund this cost for board members, as well as the cost for taking "Essentials." From my experience, the benefits far exceed the nominal cost. The networking opportunities alone are worth more than the cost of membership.

These are some ideas to help you get started in learning more about the role and responsibilities of board members and how to be effective. Good luck and enjoy the journey - it can be quite rewarding!


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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > First Time homeowner/first Homeowner's association

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