No pools or parks, so why do I really need an HOA?
I live in a homeowners association, but we don’t have a clubhouse, pool or park like other homeowners associations. Why would we be in an HOA, and is it even legal, if we don’t have any amenities?
Who decides whether a community is part of a homeowners association, and what are the benefits if we don’t have any amenities? Why are we paying dues? Our neighboring community even has a park, but they are not part of an association. Why not?
— Dan F.
Many communities with homeowners associations have amenities, such as a pool or park, although there are also many communities with an association that seem to have very few or no significant amenities.
There is no legal requirement regarding whether an association must have a certain number of amenities or the types of amenities.
If a community has a park but is not part of a homeowners association, the park is most likely operated by a city or county, and is not a private community park.
Homeowners associations are typically established when the community is entitled or constructed by the builder or developer.
However, I am aware of some local communities that have added common areas during development or later after the initial development process, thereby establishing homeowners associations to maintain these common areas.
Homeowners associations are established for a number of reasons, but primarily, they are formed to maintain a community’s common areas. Many times, these common areas are more obvious, as in your example of a pool or parks.
Other times, the common areas are less noticeable, such as landscaping, slopes, entry monuments and landscaped right of ways, all of which are maintained by the association.
Homeowners in communities without pools or parks frequently question why they pay dues to an association. The monthly dues you pay most likely go towards maintaining common area landscaping or other less obvious common areas throughout your community.
Depending on whether your community has public or private streets, dues may also be used to pay for maintaining streets, sidewalks, lighting and common area fencing.
A list of association maintenance responsibilities is detailed in your association’s covenants, conditions and restrictions, so I encourage you to utilize your community’s governing documents as a tool to better understand how your dues are being spent.
Additionally, your association is required by law to send out an annual mailer 30-60 days before your community’s fiscal year ends, including an itemized budget detailing expenses.
If you have not received a copy of your association’s budget, request it from your property management company, or in the absence of a professional management firm, ask your board of directors.