Home Encounter strives to quickly and efficiently answer your questions and serve your needs regarding your Community Association. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions. If you have still have a questions please contact us at 813-600-5090 ext. 142 and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.
What if I Cant Pay my Dues?
If you are having a financial hardship please let us know. The association may ask for verification of the situation, however, most associations are willing to arrange a reasonable payment plan. It is always better to call or write and let the association know that you have the intention to pay versus ignoring late notices and potentially facing legal action. Please be advised that failing to pay your dues may result in your file being turned over to an attorney that represents your association. This can significantly increase the amount of your debt. Please do not ignore any late notices.
Do I Need Approval?
If you are making a change to the exterior of your home or a change anywhere on your lot you need to get approval from the Architectural Control (or Review) Committee for your association. There are some exceptions to this based on the governing documents for your association, however, the general rule is yes, you need approval. Getting approval from the association is always the safest bet.
Where Does my Money Go?
The money you pay for association dues goes towards a number of things and depends on the neighborhood you live in. Dues generally pay for the association insurance policies, landscaping services by a professional landscaper, management of the association by a professional management company, enforcement of the rules, property and income taxes, reserve funding for future repairs and maintenance, watering of association owned common areas, sprinkler repairs and maintenance, lighting of common area elements and signs, flowers, replacing and/or updating landscaping, removing graffiti, maintaining the entrance signs (painting, cleaning, etc.), neighborhood social events, newsletters, etc.
What if I'm Renting?
When you own a home in a homeowners association and rent it out you are still responsible for paying the dues and making sure that the home stays in compliance with the governing documents of the association. Even if you make arrangements for the renter to pay the dues, or cut the lawn, etc. you are still legally responsible. Therefore, please make sure you provide us with your new mailing address by submitting this information on our website, faxing it, or by sending it in writing.
What if I'm Deployed?
First, thank you for serving in the Military. We sincerely appreciate your service and want to be as accommodating as possible. We need to have an address for you in order to send bills and other correspondence. If you will not have someone living in your home that will take care of your mail and all items dealing with the home, please provide us (in writing) with an address of where the association should send correspondence. With regard to paying your dues we recommend one of the following: 1) Prepay your dues for the time you will be away, 2) Set up an auto bill pay through your bank, or 3) Set up automatic ACH withdraw on our website. We also recommend that you have someone set up to maintain your yard, fence, home, and other improvements.
What are HOA Benefits?
There are many advantages to living in a homeowners association. Just drive through many of the old developments that do not have a homeowners association and you can immediately notice the difference. Associations help protect your property value and assist in creating a pleasant place to live for years to come. Communities with a homeowners association usually feature attractive combinations of well-designed homes and landscaped open spaces. The houses may even cost less than traditional housing due to more efficient use of land. Many association's feature parks, pools and other amenities, often too expensive for you to own alone, can be yours through shared ownership. So now you have a chance to enjoy the pool, tennis court, or other recreational facilities that may have been unaffordable previously. What's more, you won't have direct responsibility for maintenance, so you won't have to clean the pool, fix the tennis nets, etc.
By delivering services at the direction of their members, community associations meet the expectations of residents by working to provide a clean, well-maintained living environment, preserving the nature of the community and protecting property values. Many times we have a homeowner call our office upset and frustrated over receiving a compliance letter, only to call the next week asking for the association's help in correcting an issue with their neighbor.
Cooperation and compliance are accomplished through governing documents that typically address architectural guidelines (dealing with items such as additions, decks, landscaping, paint colors, maintenance of the yard, fence, and house) and rules pertaining to issues such as noise, pets and parking. Enforced fairly and equitably, these documents guide the management and governance of the association and are generally consistent with zoning and other provisions of the larger civil community in which the association is located.
I got a Letter from the Associations Attorney Now What?
7. I got a Letter from the Associations Attorney Now What?
If you have been contacted by an attorney for any issues relating to money owed (from the view point of the association) or for not paying your dues or for paying them late, or about a violation that was not corrected at the time the letter was sent - here is what you have to do.
- You have to call the attorney. Management personnel nor the Board can help you.
- Once an account is turned over to the association's attorney, you must communicate directly with the attorney.
- Neither management personnel nor the Board are permitted to speak with you, research your account, and discuss hardships or any other circumstances.
- There are legal reasons requiring that you contact the attorney directly to handle your affairs.
- When you call the attorney,to be effective, be professional, polite and contain any annoyance or anger. Counsel didn't create the problems that caused your situation. They are merely the messengers.
- Be straightforward when you speak with Counsel. There are times when we all forget important things or have to deal with hardships or just get distracted by life.
- Settle the matter and be done with it or offer a payment plan, but please call the attorney and resolve it.
We are so sorry that we are unable to comfort you or walk you through a resolution with counsel, but once a matter reaches this stage we are not permitted to discuss this matter with you or assist you in any way - you must contact the association's attorney.