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What does the Association’s insurance cover?

IAssociation insurance coverage differs from one community to the next.  The minimum requirements for the Association’s insurance are outlined in the community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) and / or bylaws.  However, generally speaking, the Association’s insurance typically provides liability and fidelity coverage for the Association and the Directors and Officers (or Board of Directors).  In addition, in a single family subdivision the insurance generally covers Association owned property and operations, such as Association owned parks, swimming pools, club houses, open areas, storm drainage facilities, entry monuments, etc.  In an attached condominium or townhome community, coverage generally includes the same things as a single family subdivision. In addition, it generally also includes the buildings, including fixtures and finishes as originally installed by the developer.  For specific information on your Association, you should contact your Community Manager.

What does my homeowners insurance need to include?

Your situation will be unique and you should discuss your personal homeowners’ insurance coverage with your agent.  You may have specific requirements imposed by your mortgage lender and you should review the insurance section of your community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) and your Association’s bylaws. If you are in an attached condominium or townhome community, you should discuss including a HO-6 endorsement on your policy with your insurance agent.

I keep paying my association fees, but I don’t see anything happening around here.

Your regular assessments (or fees) cover a number of items that may not show any action, including items such as insurance premiums, utility bills, bank fees, postage, copies, audits, legal fees, long term maintenance and capital improvements, and management fees.  If there is something you wish to receive clarification on or if you observe something that is in need of attention, please contact your community’s Association Manager with the details.

Will my association fees keep going up?

As a rule, you should expect your monthly and / or annual regular assessments to change as costs change.  While rising costs for items such insurance and utility costs directly affect your Association, they also indirectly affect your Association because of the impact they have on the companies that provide products and services for your Association as well.  It is not unusual for regular assessments to increase each year.  As a matter of fact, there may actually be more cause for concern if your regular assessments are not being adjusted to keep pace with increases in costs as Association under funding may lead to significant special assessments in the future.

Why do I need to get ACC (Architectural Control Committee) Approval for putting in landscaping?

Most of the time ACC approval is required prior to any work taking place if landscaping installation or modifications involve drainage changes, decks or patios, retaining walls, water features, or elements (including trees) that will be visible to your neighbors.  However, the specific requirements for your community may differ.  You should refer to your community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s), adopted Board Resolutions, and Community Rules for more information.  In addition, you are always welcome to contact your Community Manager for assistance.

Who is supposed to be insuring that my neighbor is following the rules of the association?

There is no one person who holds this responsibility.  Your Association’s Board of Directors has a responsibility to enforce the governing documents of the community.  However, the Board of Directors relies on everyone working together to be the eyes and ears of the Board.  Observations, questions, and concerns should be sent to your community’s Association Manager.  The Association Manager will coordinate any response with the Board.

What do my fees cover?

The assessments you pay to your Association cover the current operating expenses and anticipated future financial obligations of your Association.  That may include, but may not be limited to, landscaping maintenance, utilities, insurance, vandalism, facility maintenance, meeting room reservations, legal fees, accounting fees, bank charges, management fees, window cleaning, gutter cleaning, roof replacement, repainting, asphalt sealing, parking area striping, etc.

Can we put in a pool?  Tennis court?  Security Gates?
Technically, almost anything is possible.  Since this sort of modification involves placing an initial and ongoing financial burden on everyone in the community, there are a number of activities that need to be undertaken and accomplished before this can happen.  They might include: modifying the governing documents for the community, investigations into the feasibility of installing the amenity, researching insurance implications, researching costs, securing permits, obtaining votes of the majority of the homeowners in the community, and possible involvement of mortgage companies that have made loans for home purchases in your community.  If you feel there is a strong interest in your community for the addition of an amenity, you should contact your community’s Association Manager to see what might be involved.  If you own a home in a single family subdivision and wish to install a swimming pool in your own yard, you will likely need to submit for Architectural Control Committee approval prior to beginning work.