Frequently Asked Questions for Homeowner and Condo Associations
We've compiled a list of commonly asked questions from our Homeowner and Condo Association clients! Review the list below and your association page to find answers to these questions. Please reach out to our team if you are unable to find the information you desire and we will work hard to provide it for you in a timely manner.
- What is an HOA?
- How does this HOA thing work?
- Is participation in my association MANDATORY?
- Where can I find INFORMATION on my association?
- For CONDO Associations, who is responsible for what?
- I received a VIOLATION letter. Now what?
- I have a dispute with my NEIGHBOR. What can the HOA do to fix it?
- My neighbors DOG(S) won't stop barking. Help!
- Why do I need to fill out an ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW FORM? It’s my property!
- How can I become INVOLVED in my association?
- How do I pay my ASSESSMENTS?
- Why does Realty Masters only communicate with the OWNER of record?
- How do I report a STREET LIGHT out?
- How do I report a POTHOLE?
An HOA or Homeowner Association is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community. Typically these "common areas" consist of things like pools, clubhouses, landscaping, parks, streets and roads. One of the primary functions of the HOA is to enforce and ensure that the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions are adhered to by the individual homeowners. The guiding principles of these regulations are normally to help maintain property values and the quality of life within the community.
When you purchased your property you agreed to follow the Homeowners Association Covenants, Restrictions, Bylaws and Rules and Regulations. This means that you have a duty to make sure your property is compliant with the governing documents at all times. In addition, it also requires you to pay the association dues. The amount of the Associations dues are based on the amount it will cost on an annual basis to run the Association and for the upkeep of any common areas.
Additionally, there may be special assessments for any unforeseen costs to the association that are not included in the budget.
Here's an article that describes more information about what it means to belong to an Homeowner's Association or a Condo Association.
Although some home owners associations can be structured as voluntary participation, all of the homeowner's associations that we manage involve mandatory participation by homeowners.
Our association team manages a webpage specifically made for the residents of your community. You can find your information by visiting the Association Pages here and selecting yours from the list. Please reach out if you desire additional information.
Are you seeking information for a Homeowner's Association that is not managed by Realty Masters? We get this question often and have written an article to provide some direction for you here: How to Find HOA Documents Rules and Regulations.
The association will take care of all of the exterior upkeep of the buildings and grounds. The COA in general is responsible for the foundation, exterior walls and roof, as well as any common areas and/or amenities, for example, swimming pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, play areas, etc.
Condo owners are responsible for everything inward from your interior walls, floors and ceilings like ac or toilet replacement, however, consult the CCR's for specifics on your community.
If this is your first violation, don’t take it personally. It is the duty of the Association Board, to direct Management, to uphold and enforce all governing documents for the Association. If the violation has already been resolved, then that’s all you need to do and the resolution will be noted in your file. If this is your 2nd violation, you may be subject to fines if the violation is not resolved promptly.
If you are experiencing a hardship that prevents you from resolving the violation, please contact the Association Manager immediately to discuss your options.
Depending on the dispute, most neighbor issues cannot be enforced by the Homeowners Association unless it is a direct covenant violation. However, in very few select instances, the Homeowners Association Manager may act as an intermediary for the dispute. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the contact with your neighbor may resolve the issue and further steps may be required by you.
Also note, that depending on the issue, it may be more of a matter for the City, County or State. See your Associations’ web page for contact information.
If you are unsure, please contact the Association Manager for guidance.
Most communities have a stipulation in the governing documents regarding pets. However, these restrictions are usually regarding the number or type of pets. Any problems with incessant barking, noise or loose animals, should be reported to your local animal control.
Go to our Association Resources page for a list of local, county and statewide resources.
When you purchased your home, you agreed to part of the homeowner's association. In doing so, you are required to get approval for any changes made to your home or property as listed in the governing documents.
To obtain a blank ARC form, refer to your Association's web page.
Attending meetings is a great start to become more familiar and involved in your community association. Meeting notices are often sent and posted in common areas in the community. Pay attention to your mail and watch for signs posted at the major entrances and intersections within the subdivision. Also, check community bulletin boards and common areas within the community for more opportunities to become involved. Make sure you respond to your association when they reach out to you.
Payments can be made in check or money order made payable to your association. You can set this payment up with your bill pay online. We now also utilize Renttrack for owners to make pamyents to their association online for a small convenience fee. Check your neighborhood community page to find more specific information about due amounts, payment dates, and payment methods.
We cannot process or cash checks that are made payable to Realty Masters.
Owner accounts reflect the names of owners as recorded within public record/deed. Due to privacy laws, no non-public personal information is ever disclosed, and we cannot communicate with anyone regarding owner records or accounts other than the BOD, attorney, or management staff.
You may may wish to allow someone other than the deeded owners to receive information. We are happy to cooperate with this request; however, it needs to be authorized in writing prior.
If you notice that there is a street light out in your neighborhood, you can go online to Gulf Power and report the outage at https://www.gulfpower.com/residential/savings-and-energy/rebates-and-programs/outdoor-lighting/report-an-outage
You can also report the outage to your Association manager, but please be sure to include the address or intersection closest to the street light, as that information is needed in order to make a report.
Potholes can be reported to your association manager. Depending on if the roads are private or county would determine who would be responsible for the repair. Please be sure to include the address or intersection closest to the pothole for faster response time.