We have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions from Board Members along with best practices and helpful tips.

Browse the topics below, or click 'Find' to look for answers to specific questions.


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General

  • Can we get paid for being on the Board of Directors?
    Board
    Salary

    State Laws and your governing documents prohibit board members from being paid for their service to the association. This does not preclude board members from being reimbursed for actual expenses related to the HOA.

  • How do we get reimbursed for things we've purchased for the HOA?
    Expense
    Reimbursement

    Simply fill out an Expense Reimbursements form and submit it to our office.

  • What are Covenants and Restrictions?
    CCR's,
    Declaration
    of
    Covenants,
    Declaration
    of
    Restrictions,
    Use
    Restrictions

    Restrictive covenants are provisions in a deed limiting the use of the property and prohibiting certain uses. They are similar in effect to equitable servitudes, but restrictive covenants run with the land because the restrictions are contained in the deed. Restrictive covenants are typically used by land developers to establish minimum house sizes, setback lines, and aesthetic requirements thought to enhance the neighborhood. Also known as: CC&R's, DCC&R's, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, Governing Documents, Deed Restrictions.

  • Why can't I give all homeowners the Portfolio Managers contact information?
    Contact,
    Portfolio
    Manager,
    Association
    Coordinator

    The Portfolio Manager and Association Coordinator work directly with their Board Members to handle the association's daily needs. Many times the managers may be out of the office attending to a properties needs. To enable the managers to handle that responsibility effectively, our Resident Services department is available to take your homeowners calls between 8:00am - 6:00pm (EST) Monday through Friday. Please have your Homeowners contact Resident Services by phone (704-565-5009/888-565-1226), email, live chat or support ticket.

  • Why doesn't the Portfolio Manager take our meeting minutes?
    Meeting;
    Minutes;
    Secretary

    The most common description of the secretary's role includes the keeping of all the minutes and records of the association and the distribution of all required notices. It is difficult to fully concentrate on the meeting when required to take minutes. For this reason, it is strongly encouraged that another board member accepts this task. See our article on "Taking Minutes - Who's job is it and why" for more information.

  • Why do you charge a transfer fee on the sale of a Home/Unit? Aren't these Illegal in NC?
    Closing,
    Transfer,
    Fee

    We do not charge a "Transfer Fee". We charge a "Processing Fee" to process closing information prior to closing. The parties involved in the real estate transaction will decide who pays this processing fee. However, the "Requesting Party" is responsible for this fee and must acknowledge our "Agreement Authorization Request" before the order will be processed. Payment of the fee is not contingent upon closing or settlement and is due no later than 90 days after the requested information is delivered. We offer several different packages for obtaining closing information prior to closing. These packages run anywhere between $65-$400 depending on how much information you order and how quickly you want to obtain that information.


    As part of this process, some Associations may require a "Working Capital Contribution" at the time of sale of the property. Neither of these are deemed Transfer Fees under state laws.

  • Can we audio/video tape our Board Meetings?
    Board
    Meeting
    Audio
    Video
    Record
    Tape

    ABSOLUTELY NOT.  Minutes are a record of actions taken, not a record of the conversation.  Should the association ever be required to turn over items due to a lawsuit, anything contained on those tapes (including side conversations, off-hand comments, etc) could be entered into evidence and used against the association and its board of directors.

Annual Meetings

  • Why are you sending me the Proxy and Nomination form… Our people need the names of the Nominees before the meeting.
    Annual
    Meeting
    Election
    Proxy
    Nomination

    The Proxy form is used to designate another person to vote on the member's (homeowner) behalf at the Annual Meeting. Elections of officers must be performed at a duly called meeting as stated in the Association's bylaws. According to Roberts Rules of order, regardless if you have a nominating committee, nominations must be taken from the floor of the meeting prior to the election vote. Sending both of these forms with the Annual Meeting notice to your homeowners helps streamline the process to keep the meeting running smoothly.

  • Is the lack of community participation and lack attendance at annual meetings typical in other HOA’s?
    Annual
    Meeting,
    Community
    Involvement

    Unfortunately this is very common. We recommend sending notices well in advance, and then following up with several reminders as the date approaches. Many times the low attendance can actually indicate that owners are generally satisfied with the Association and do not feel compelled to get involved. Of course, the opposite could also be true. If Annual meetings are “heated and contentious”, many owners will choose not to attend in the future. We encourage you to have a clear meeting agenda, stick to it and invite owners with specific issues to attend a Board meeting to discuss their individual concerns.

Accounting Questions

  • How much money does the HOA have in the bank?
    Banking
    Balance
    Sheet
    Checking
    Money

    The monthly financial reports show how much money is in each of your association's bank accounts. You can locate this information on the Balance Sheet.

  • When will I receive the financials?
    Financials

    Financial reports are generated and emailed to your board no later than the 5th business day of the month for the previous month.

  • Help me understand my Monthly Financial Packet?
    Financials
    Balance
    Sheet
    P&L
    Income
    Statement

    Please see Understanding Your Monthly Financials for more information on this topic.

  • What Does Retained Earnings Mean on the Balance Sheet?
    Retained
    Earnings
    Balance
    Sheet

    Balance Sheet figure shown under the heading retained earnings is the sum of all profits retained since the Association's inception. Retained earnings are reduced by losses, and are also called accumulated earnings, accumulated profit, accumulated income, accumulated surplusearned surplus, undistributed earnings, or undivided profits.

  • How will you know what Invoices to pay if I do not see them first?
    Invoices,
    Payables,
    Approvals

    We process invoices based on budgeted expenses. Invoices for Insurance and utilities (water, sewer, electricity, gas) receive priority to ensure those services remain in place. Invoices for contracted services such as landscaping or pool maintenance are also budgeted items and would be processed as normal. Invoices that are unexpected, non-budgeted would be held until we confer with a Board member.

  • Can we recode an invoice?
    Invoice
    Payables
    GL
    Code

    Yes. Please contact your Association Coordinator or Portfolio Manager with the details and we will be glad to recode the GL for the invoice.

  • When will the vendor receive a check?
    Vendor
    Check
    Payable

    Provided the vendor has submitted the Vendor Application and insurance certificate, Checks are cut on Tuesday and Friday of each week (excluding holidays). Landscapers are paid on the 15th of each month.

  • Why are landscapers paid the week of the 15th?
    Checks
    Landscapers
    Payment

    Landscapers are paid monthly on or around the 15th.  The full monthly payment is made to the vendor after 2 weeks of service is provided to the HOA.  Therefore, the vendor is paid for 2 weeks of service and prepaid for the remaining 2 weeks of service for the month.  This limits the risk to the association for vendors who bill in advance for services.

  • Why don’t we budget for late fees/violation fines?
    Budget,
    Late
    Fees,
    Fines,

    We don’t recommend using late fees or fines as “expected income” as it is not guaranteed income to the association. Late fees or fines should not be utilized as a source of revenue, they are to encourage compliance. Once an owner is in compliance, it is recommended that the association waive or reduce those fines to a reasonable amount.

  • Can we go with a different Bank?
    Bank,
    Accounting,
    Checking,

    The Association accounts must remain within our control for security purposes. We only partner with specific banks that provide direct integration into our systems to allow us to provide many of the financial services your Association enjoys today. Lockbox (mail in payment processing), Treasury Services (ACH), and Merchant Services (Credit Cards) are all features provided free of charge to your association by one of our partner banks. Additionally, Your accounts are tied to our management system in order to allow us real time reporting for your financials. If your association has a website, any online payments are deposited directly into this operating account and immediately posted to the owner’s association account. The same process applies for payments that are mailed into the processing center. Moving from a partner bank will cause a significant loss in flexibility to your homeowners, as well as timely information to your board. If you insist on having accounts at other institutions, there will be additional fees for us to reconcile those accounts, make manual deposits, as well as possible other bank fees. Other banks charge fees such as Analysis fees, Merchant Service, and Treasury Service fees. (There are currently no bank fees for accounts held at our designated bank.)

Reserves

  • Why do we need a reserve study for our townhome/condos?
    Reserves,
    Reserve
    Study

    There are 5 important reasons to conduct a custom reserve study.

    • To maintain the property's value and appearance
      A reserve study helps maintain the property's value and the property owner's investment. By identifying and budgeting for future capital improvements, the property's common elements continue to look attractive and well-kept, adding to the community's overall quality of life.
    • To fulfill the board of directors' fiduciary responsibility
      Board members of community associations have a fiduciary responsibility to their members. Directors are legally bound to use sound business judgment in guiding the association and cannot ignore major capital expenditures or eliminate them from the budget.
    • To establish sound financial planning and budget direction 
      A comprehensive reserve study lays out a schedule of major repairs or replacements to common property elements and applies cost estimates to them. To ensure property owners have adequate reserve funding to cover anticipated costs, a reserve funding plan typically spans 30 years. In short, it's your blueprint for the future.
    • To comply with state law
      Many states now require community associations to disclose reserves, accumulate reserves or have professional reserve studies conducted. It's anticipated more states will adopt similar legislation.
    • To comply with FHA certification requirements

  • What are the Risks of not having a reserve study?
    Reserves,
    Reserve
    Study

    Underfunding - requiring Special assessments, bank loans, deferred maintenance or a combination; Overfunding - Paying too much (more than owners "fair share") for the benefit of future owners; Board Member Liability - Exposure to claims of fiscal irresponsibility and loss of D&O insurance coverage

  • Why can't we prepare our own Reserve Study?
    Reserves,
    Reserve
    Study

    Most Board Members are not qualified to prepare a reserve study or a reserve budget. Attempting to do so may increase your liability exposure and result in the loss of your D&O insurance coverage. Whenever possible, use an experienced, qualified Reserve Specialist to prepare a reserve study because of the technical detail involved.

  • We do not have a pool/tennis court/clubhouse, and very little common area to maintain. How much should we have in reserves?
    Reserves

    What is sufficient for one community is not always sufficient for the next. As a rule of thumb for communities without amenities, we recommend one (1) years operating budget. Please contact your Portfolio Manager or Association Coordinator to discuss this topic further.

  • Can we lower our dues since we have "enough money" in our reserve?
    Reserves,
    Lower
    dues,
    Assessments,
    Budget

    This is a common question. Before deciding to reduce your dues, we highly recommend an official Reserve Study to determine precisely what is considered to be “enough money”.  If you have performed an official reserve study for your association and it is determined that your association’s reserve account is currently over-funded…the Board could make a decision to either stop any increases or even reduce the assessments. We caution you to be very careful in doing this, especially if you may have a difficult time raising the dues again in the future if your needs change. For Example, Does the community have to vote to increase beyond a certain amount?

Collections

  • Can we post a list of delinquent owners?
    Collections,
    Delinquent

    Absolutely not! Posting a list of delinquencies, or providing that information to any Non-elected board member is a violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This could result in a lawsuit against the Association and its individual board members.

  • How can I find out How Many Homeowners are Delinquent
    Past
    Due,
    AR,
    Aging,
    Delinquency,

    This information can be found on the Board Portal within the Associations Website by selecting "Board Member Aging Report" or within your monthly financial packet by reviewing the "Aging Report".

  • Can we get an update for all of the accounts in collections?
    Collections
    AR
    Aging

    You can review all accounts in collections through the Board Member Portal on the Associations website, or you may contact your Association Coordinator or Portfolio Manager for an updated PDF report.

  • What is the status on this Lien/Foreclosure - Why is it taking so long to get our money?
    Lien,
    Foreclosure,
    Collections

    The Collections process can take a considerable amount of time. Depending on the criteria set by your board for the lien and foreclosure process, it can take up to 225 days of delinquency before an owner is ever referred to the attorney for foreclosure. Once the account has been sent to the attorney, the process can take up to 120 days or longer depending on several factors such as bankruptcy filings, lender foreclosures, short sales, etc.

  • We signed a foreclosure affidavit a couple months ago, can we get an update on the foreclosure?
    Foreclosure,
    Affidavit,
    Collections

    Once the account has been sent to the attorney, the process can take up to 120 days or longer depending on several factors such as bankruptcy filings, lender foreclosures, short sales, etc. Your Association Coordinator or Portfolio Manager would be happy to contact the attorney and provide an update, however the information we obtain may be very limited due to the length of time it takes to process a foreclosure.

  • What is the process for Lien and Foreclosure?
    Lien,
    Foreclosure

    See the Collections process for more information on this topic.

  • Why are we not notified prior to a Lien being placed?
    Lien,
    Collections

    The Board of Directors (or perhaps a previous board) adopted a collections resolution that outlined the stages of collection for your association. Once the board adopts the collection policy, we follow the policy and accounts automatically proceed to lien if an account meets the criteria as outlined in the policy. We automate this process to ensure every delinquent homeowner is treated the same, thus eliminating the potential risk of a Board randomly selecting which owners to pursue. Your aging report will show the status of all delinquent accounts. See the Collections process for more information on this topic.

  • How much does it cost to foreclose?
    Foreclosure
    Collections

    Most undisputed collections activities are capped at $1200.00 in Attorney Fees plus cost of court and required advertising. This includes the initial lien filing as well as the foreclosure. If the Foreclosure is disputed, it can cost considerably more.

  • What is that $40 collection set up fee? Why is the fee not charged back to the Homeowner?
    Collection
    Fee

    The fee is for processing the account in collections. The fee, in certain circumstances, may not be charged back to the owner. Those circumstances often depending on your governing documents.

  • In regards to Lender foreclosure; Why do we write off the debt?
    Lender
    Foreclosure,
    Collections

    Once a lender forecloses, the Association’s lien against the previous owner becomes uncollectable. First and second mortgage loans are superior to an associations lien. Once the lender forecloses, the associations lien is "extinguished" and becomes unenforceable against the property. The only other option is a money judgement against the owner, but often the costs to the association out way any potential recovery from the delinquent homeowner.

  • How come the previous owners no longer show on the aging report if they still owe a balance?
    Collections,
    Aging,
    Previous
    Owner,

    Once a delinquent owner surrenders the property through bankruptcy or foreclosure, the debt is automatically written off as uncollectable. The aging report will only show active delinquent accounts.

  • Why are we not notified when a homeowner pays their balance during the Foreclosure stage?
    Foreclosure,
    Collections,
    Payments

    Once a homeowners account is paid in full, they will no longer show on the Aging Report. This information is available in real time from the Board Member Portal on the Associations Website, and provided monthly in your financial packet.

  • Can we give this Homeowner a break and waive his dues?
    Assessments
    Dues
    Writeoff
    Collections

    No. Your governing documents do not provide the board with the authority to waive Assessments. Those must be charged equally (or by pro-rata share) to every owner. The Board can choose to waive all or part of any Late fees or fines.

  • Why should we waive late fees?
    Late
    Fees,
    Waivers,
    Collections

    The Association's role is to collect assessments. There are times when waiving a late fee (or portion of several late fees) in an effort to collect regular assessments just makes good sense. We recommend you have a clear policy established to deal with repeat offenders.

  • Can we waive attorney fees on a delinquent owners account?
    Attorney
    Collections
    Writeoff
    Fees

    We do not recommend it. The Association has already spent money to collect the debt, and if attorney fees are waived, the association will lose money.

  • What is the process for someone on a payment plan and when they default do we get notified?
    Collections,
    Delinquency,
    Payment
    Plans,

    We do not notify the Board if someone defaults on a payment plan, other than the change of status on the monthly aging report. If there is a default, the collection process defined by the Board will resume.

Architectural

  • How do I approve/deny ARC request?
    ARC
    ACC
    Request

    ARC/ACC requests are approved or denied from within the Board Member Portal on the Association Website. You can download step by step directions here or watch an instructional video for help with the process.

Compliance/Violations

  • How can we stop a homeowner from taking Common Area Repairs into their own hands? What if they do the work when no one is around, what is our recourse?
    Compliance,
    Repair,
    Common
    Area,
    Violation

    The offending homeowner must be informed he/she is in violation of the CCR’s and or Rules and Regulations of the community. Written notices are preferred. If necessary, follow through with a Hearing Before the Board and subsequent fines and/or barring them from access for further non-compliance. Unfortunately, the person must be caught in the act or have some solid proof as to the offender’s identity.

  • Our CCR's say No on-street parking. Can we enforce parking on our neighborhood streets?
    Parking,
    Violations,
    Compliance

    That depends on if your Association's streets have been turned over to the City/State for maintenance or if they are private (owned by the HOA). If the streets are public, the HOA has no authority to fine someone for parking on them. We recommend turning the issue over to the appropriate division of your municipality (code enforcement or police) if it becomes a safety issue. We also recommend communicating to your residents to let them know the dangers of on-street parking.

  • We have Questions about installing speed bumps and speeding in our Community
    Compliance,
    Streets,
    Speeding,
    Speed
    Bumps,

    If your Association's streets are public: There are many reasons that certain municipalities either are or are not favorable towards speed control devices. The overwhelming reason against them is they can slow down emergency vehicles (police, fire, medic). In an emergency, seconds matter. For more information on this issue, you would have to contact your local officials. Usually there is at least a one year waiting period for speed bumps if the municipality allows it, along with a substantial cost for each one. For speeding issues, contact the police department to request additional patrols of your neighborhood.

    If your Association's streets are private:  The Association may install (at its expense) speed bumps that meet state safety standards. For more information, contact your paving vendor.

  • Why do we have to hold a hearing? Can’t we just fine them?
    Violation,
    Compliance,
    Hearing,
    Fines

    Unless the association's CCR’s outline a specific procedure for the implementation of fines, you must follow State statutes which, in North Carolina, requires that an owner be given the opportunity to be heard.

  • Why do we need to hold hearings, we didn’t do this before
    Violations,
    Hearing,
    Hearings

    We want to ensure that the association stays compliant with state laws and best practices. Unless the association's CCR’s outline a specific procedure for the implementation of fines, you must follow State statutes which, in North Carolina, requires that an owner be given the opportunity to be heard. We recommend South Carolina association's follow the same process as best practice.

  • Fines: When Should we Waive them?
    Fines,
    Violations,
    Compliance

    After a violation is at the fine stage, and the owner cures the violation, the board may choose to waive some or all of the violation fines.  While each circumstance is different, ultimately the goal is to have the issue corrected, not generate additional revenue for the association. 

  • Why Can't we Create a Rule for this issue?
    Rules,
    Resolutions,
    Ammendment,
    CCR's,
    Governing
    Documents,

    The Association's Governing Documents usually state under what conditions (if any) the Board has the authority to create rules. Most always the Board can only create rules that govern the Common Area and not individual homeowners properties. Rules that affect the homeowners property are classified as "Private Land Use Restrictions" and must be made part of the Declaration of Covenants/Condominium through an amendment. Amendments to the Declaration will require a "Super Majority" vote of the members (homeowners) usually 67% and as high as 90%. Click here for more information on the differences between rules, resolutions and amendments.

Maintenance

  • Why can't the Board choose to do repairs on private property if they want to, i.e.: lawn care, remove bushes, trees, repair a fence and not charge the Homeowner?
    Maintenance,
    Repair,
    Private
    Property,

    The Association's Governing Documents outline the associations responsibility for maintenance and repair, as well as what Association funds may be spent for. Repairing property that does not belong to the Association, and then not charging the Homeowner (Member) for it is not only a breach of the Board's Fiduciary Duty, but also misappropriation of funds.

  • Our Streets are Public, homeowner property line stops at sidewalk, who is responsible for the grass area between sidewalk and street? Who is responsible for mailboxes on this grassy area?
    Public
    Streets,
    Maintenance,
    Mailboxes

    Most Cities or towns do not provide regular mowing along public streets. Individual homeowners would be encouraged to maintain this small strip of grass simply to prevent any negative affect to their own property and to maintain a consistent appearance. The Association is normally responsible to maintain “Common Area owned by the Association”. Mailboxes are the property and responsibility of individual owners unless the CCR’s specifically state otherwise.

Insurance

  • Why do we need D&O insurance? It raises the cost of our insurance budget significantly.
    Insurance,
    D&O

    D&O insurance protects the Board Members in the event of any litigation that arises as a result of any action or decision by the Board. The insurance will assist (or cover) the cost of litigation or legal defense. As Board Members, you are non-compensated volunteers and should not have to cover your own legal defense for actions that may arise from your service to the community. See this article explanation on the types of insurance for more information.

  • Why isn’t a D&O endorsement enough?
    D&O,
    Insurance

    Endorsements often have limitations or exclusions and therefore may not provide complete coverage in every circumstance. Download Not all Directors and Officers Liability Policies are created equally.pdf for more information.

  • Why do we not have a choice for our insurance agent/agency?
    Insurance,
    Agent

    Your Association Board makes the choice of what carrier (policy provider). We designate the agent in order to reduce the number of insurance agents we correspond with on a regular basis. By utilizing specific agents, we have the ability to make sure such agent is an “expert” when it comes to Association Policies. By doing this, we have a single agent to contact for all policies written through a specific company. In other words, we can contact a single agent for all Nationwide policies versus having 50 different agents. Also combining policies to one or two agents gives our clients the benefit of combined buying power and discounts with the carriers that would otherwise not be available.

  • Can we choose our own Insurance Company?
    Insurance,
    Insurance
    Company,

    Yes. Your Association Board makes the choice of what carrier (policy provider).

  • Can we put a copy of the Master Insurance policy on the website for our Homeowners in our Townhome/Condo association?
    Master
    Policy,
    Insurance,
    Certificate
    of
    Insurance,

    The Association is the Policy Holder and owners do not have authority to file claims on their own. (This also helps to eliminate unnecessary or unwarranted claims.) If owners receive a request from their mortgage company for insurance information, the owner needs to obtain a Certificate of Insurance (COI) as the Policy itself does not prove proper proof of coverage. We have a simple process in place for owners to order a COI from our website to insure they receive the most current information that will satisfy a lender request. See this article for more information.