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By Carole Keily | Sponsored by Cardinal Management Group, Inc.
Cardinal Management Group, Inc. is a full-service community management company. They offer a variety of solutions for their clients based on their needs, including full-service management, financial-only management, project management, consulting and commercial management. Cardinal’s clients include homeowner associations (HOAs), condominiums, high-rise condominiums, developing communities, mixed-use communities, master associations, recreation associations and commercial buildings.
Why Have an HOA?
The purpose of an HOA, whether single-family, townhome, or a combination thereof, is to manage common areas of the community, manage property interests of owners, provide services for owners and develop a sense of community through social activities and/or amenities, according to Ashley Gonzalez, CMCA, AMS, a Portfolio Manager with Cardinal Management Group, Inc.
“Cardinal Management assists the Board of Directors with the implementation of all of the above from Contract Administration and Negotiations, Covenants Enforcement, Financial Management and Reporting, Preventative Maintenance Planning, Annual Planning, Budget Preparation, Site Evaluations, Board & Annual Meeting Preparation & Attendance, Resale Disclosure Preparation, Work Order Administration, Resident Communication Solutions,” Gonzalez continued.
How Cardinal Helps HOAs
Cardinal works with the HOA Boards of Directors. These volunteer boards are made up of homeowners in a community association. Cardinal provides guidance on the day-to-day operations of the Association including the upholding of the Association’s policies, soliciting bids from maintenance companies, negotiating contracts, paying invoices, collecting assessments, and hosting meetings, among other things.
According to Gonzalez, all Associations have governing documents that establish the covenants of the community; these are rules that are outlined for the Association. In a new development, these documents are typically prepared by an attorney when a developer or declarant establishes the community. When an Association is formed, the governing documents (bylaws, covenants and articles of incorporation) establish the rules and processes of the community. These documents describe how the process works to turn everything over to homeowner control from the declarant, including delineating the board’s decision-making process and authority.
When it’s time for the Association to be turned over to homeowner control, generally an election will be held for those interested in volunteering to become a candidate for the Board. The elected volunteer homeowners will form the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors make the decisions for the Association on behalf of its membership with guidance and advice provided by its management agent, attorneys, engineers, etc.. The governing documents of the Association will outline the powers and duties of the Board of Directors.
The Role of Developers and Committees
A developer is someone who undertakes the process of developing the common areas and community amenities and sometimes the homes within the community. Sometime developers will outsource the building of homes to individual homebuilders. Sales Agents work directly for the homebuilder or developer to market and sell the homes.
It’s important for homeowners to know and understand the responsibility the developer has in creating their community, establishing rules as well as what warranties are provided and how long the Declarant will have control of the Association.
There are usually details in the covenants or bylaws that outline how long the Declarant will control the Association, when the Association will be turned over to homeowners and how that process should look. Generally, the Declarant will appointment a homeowner(s) to serve on the Board during their control period, although it may not always be required.
Community associations can create committees for a number of projects and tasks. In most cases committees are made up of homeowner volunteers. Some of the most common types of committees and what they may do include:
- Covenants/Architectural. Helps the board regulate external design, appearance, use and maintenance of the common areas. Issues notices of violations, conducts hearings and listens to appeals. Reviews policies, procedures, rules and regulations periodically for need and enforceability.
- Communications. Prepares the association newsletter, promotes community events, manages community social media, maintains a community directory and conducts orientation for new residents.
- Maintenance. Preserves and enhances common areas, solicits information and bids from appropriate maintenance providers and monitors maintenance contracts for compliance.
- Safety. Identifies safety hazards, develops programs to promote the safety and security of the community, inspects common areas and equipment, and recommends improvements.
- Recreation/Social. Develops and host social programs, activities and events according to the needs and interests of the community.
- Finance. Reviews the preliminary budget, conducts budget meetings, reviews financial reports, reviews and monitors financial procedures and transactions.
- Elections. Nominates candidates for board positions, and organizes, prepares for and conducts association elections.
Cardinal Management Group can help with all aspects of community association management. Visit them at cardinalmanagementgroup.com for more information.
Carole Keily is Prince William Living‘s online editor.