What is a Condominium Association?
Purchasing a condominium comes with its own unique set of qualities than when purchasing other types of homes. Like many single family homes, a condominium development is governed by a community association. This condominium association, or COA, and member homeowners work together to maintain the value of the units and shared common elements.
A condo association is governed by a board of directors made up of homeowners in the association. They are elected by their neighbors to oversee the business of the community and uphold and enforce the community’s CC&Rs. Running a condominium association is not an easy task and most board members have full time jobs, so many boards hire a professional property manager to assist. A property manager works alongside the board and takes on many day to day responsibilities, such as coordination of maintenance projects, contract negotiation, and dues collection. The board of directors will still make the final decisions on which vendors to hire and if dues should be increased, but the division of work allows the COA to be successful.
By purchasing a condominium within a COA, the owner acknowledges mandatory membership to the association and agrees to abide by the CC&Rs, including paying the regular assessments set forth within them.
Dues cover all expenses of the association, including maintenance of all common elements. Common elements are the aspects of the community used by all owners and in which they own undivided interest, including elevators, lobbies, sidewalks, common hallways, and pools. The COA may also be responsible for limited common elements, any element that is for the use of one of more but less than all owners. This may include balconies, roofs, and/or siding, as defined in the CC&Rs. Dues also cover other fees, such as management, landscaping, legal, and accounting.
Owners are responsible for their own unit, as a unit is defined in the CC&Rs. For most associations, a unit is defined as the exterior surface of the drywall inward, and the main floor (concrete slab or plywood depending on level) upward, but the CC&Rs should always be consulted to properly determine responsibility. No matter the definition, everything within the expressed boundaries is to be maintained by the owner of the unit. Most COAs also require each owner holds insurance for their unit.
By working together, homeowners and a condominium association’s board of directors can ensure the community runs smoothly and all goals of the neighborhood are accomplished.