Whether you’re buying a home, condominium, townhome, or villa in Panama City Beach, you will likely be joining as a member of the Homeowners Association (HOA). This organization, typically comprised of fellow residents elected to the board, serves as the governing body over a housing complex or subdivision. There are many different HOAs comprising many different areas of housing. Depending on which property you decide to live in, there will be different rules for different properties. Here is some basic information to look for regarding HOAs and how they work.
One of the bonuses to belonging to an HOA is knowing certain amenities and expenses are taken care of by the organization. However, in order to do this, you will likely have to contribute funds, or dues, to the organization in order to live there. Because there are different rules and regulations for each HOA, it is important to know what types of amenities need funding before you even decide to live at a particular property. Some include a community pool, tennis court, basketball court, community events, and so forth. Some provide maintenance to the community such as fixing broken lights, fences, plumbing, exterior painting, and providing an overall well-kept area to live. Not all properties provide internet, cable, and trash pickup, but some do on the condition of belonging to the association.
Is it mandatory?
Generally speaking, living on a particular property means belonging to the Homeowners Association. If you refuse to do so, then you likely won’t be approved to live there. Once you live there, making consistent payments is important. If you were to decide later that you didn’t want to be a part of the organization, you could very well lose your privileges to live there. Before you decide whether or not to live at a particular home, ask the people in charge of the property for a copy of the HOA rules and regulations. These will often help you decide if there are any dealbreaker rules you’d rather not have to abide by when living there. Some rules such as not being allowed to have pets or flying an American flag on your porch or having the volume up on your television too high may be things that steer you away from a particular home
Know your rights
Although an HOA sets many of the regulations involved in living in a certain community, you still have rights too. Make sure when reading the bylaws that the organization does not stray from their own list of rules in their system. One of the nice things about an HOA is that any disagreement with a certain rule can often be taken to the board and voted on by your fellow residents. An unfortunate reality with that idea is that typically the board doesn’t meet to vote on issues more than a few times a year. That being said, it is possible for you to serve on the board if elected, and this could speed up the process of getting more things done in your community should you seek to do so. According to Florida Community Network, here is another thing to keep in mind: “HOA’s are governed by Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes. Although there is no agency that enforces the Florida HOA statutes, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation deals with elections and recalls. This leaves the homeowner with one option and that is to litigate against the HOA, however, before filing a suit, pre-suit mediation must occur.”
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