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Purpose and Types of Community Associations

by Mary Arnold, CMCA®, AMS® on Sep 19, 2018 8:09:00 AM

The purpose of the community or condo association is to provide for the community, business and governance aspects of the association. This is achieved by administering, maintaining, and enhancing a residential real estate development, and through the establishment of a system of property rights, binding covenants and restrictions, and rules and regulations.

The three types of residential community associations are:


  • An owner owns his/her lot and/or living unit 
  • Community owns common areas for the use and benefit of owners


  • An owner owns his/her living unit, and
  • has an undivided interest in the common elements


  • An individual owns stock or membership in the cooperative, and
  • holds a proprietary lease or occupancy agreement for his/her living unit.

These three types of associations focus on “ownership”, not architectural style. A townhome “style” community can be an HOA, or a condo. Single-family dwellings can be in a condominium association. The type of ownership is defined in the governing documents.

Additionally, these three types of residential community associations can exist by themselves, or they can be grouped in clusters called:

Master or Umbrella Associations

Consist of more than one residential community association

Mixed Use Developments

Consists of a mix of residential and/or commercial and/or industrial uses

"55"and Older Communities

Typically requires one person at least 55 years old in 80% of occupied units

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