RealManage Insight

What Are HOA Documents and How Can You Properly Organize Them?

by Jennifer Harvey on May 26, 2022 1:30:00 PM

Keeping track of crucial documents can be a nightmare since they can easily get lost or damaged in paper form. HOA documents are no exception. Associations should make every effort to provide the governing documents to new home buyers in an easy-to-use, digital format. 

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How should these HOA documents be organized and stored? Should the soft copies be organized and saved in the cloud? What about the hard copies? This article will highlight some HOA documents and how to organize and keep them to ensure they are available upon request.

Keep reading for more information on HOA documents and how to organize them.

The Basic Governing Documents of an HOA

Community associations are governed by several documents. Below is a list of some of the most common:  Some of these documents are:

Articles of Incorporation

The articles are brief and contain the association's basic information, such as the name, location, date the association was founded, and the purpose and official location of the association. 

Federal, State, or Local Laws

The Association might have powers over its members, but various federal, state, and local laws can sometimes supersede the association’s documents and regulations. 

Bylaws

These are a set of operating procedures adopted by an association once it is formed. They dictate how the association will operate, voting procedures, and the protocols of calling and holding meetings. Sometimes, bylaws also describe the rights and responsibilities of the association.

Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)

The CC&Rs are the cornerstone of the association’s governing documents and the backbone of the association. It is the most comprehensive document that contains important information on the operation of the association, restrictions on the use of the owner's property, the association's obligations, authority, and the rights and responsibilities of all members. 

HOA's Rules and Regulations

Although most rules and regulations are specified in the CC&Rs, the association may adopt separate "rules and regulations" clarifying things from the CC&Rs. This document can cover anything from prohibiting trash and broken cars in the yard, to the height of the fences, among others. 

It is prudent to review the association's rules and regulations before buying into the association because they can affect how the property can be used.

How to Organize Your HOA Documents

The documents can be ordered by category, date, and other distinguishing criteria to save retrieval time.

Professional management companies may also organize and store their client's association permanent records, historical records, and Board minutes on their site or resident portal. Most associations have their governing documents posted on the association’s website, making them easy to access for all residents. 

When the association's bookkeeper audits annual financial statements, they should be added to the association’s documents available for residents to review. 

Many states have records retention policies that the association must follow and will dictate what must be kept, for how long, and how residents can review them. 

Final Thoughts

Properly organizing and storing your HOA documents is critical to maintaining a well-run community. By keeping these tips in mind, you can help ensure that everything is organized and easily accessible when needed.

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