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How Hot Are You?

The last thing you want on a hot, sticky, summer day is to flip that switch to “on” and nothing happens. When your air conditioner sits idle for many months of the year, maintenance or a tune up is a necessity. You rely on your air conditioning system to keep your home cool and comfortable. Your A/C system requires regular maintenance to function efficiently. Just like any other home appliance, your air conditioning unit is bound to show wear and eventually deteriorate, developing mechanical problems at some point during its lifetime. Keeping your system running smoothly depends on proper attention to its maintenance and service needs. System maintenance can also save you money and headaches from unexpected breakdowns that leave you steamed!
 
If you are looking to keep your home comfortable (and who isn’t?), then keeping your A/C running is a must. Let’s take a look at what you can do, and when you need to call in the pro’s, when it comes to air conditioner maintenance…
 
Why Does My A/C Need Maintenance?
 
Regular A/C maintenance will not only extend the usable life of your unit, it will also save you substantial amounts of money on repair and replacement costs. Here are a few tips if you find you A/C isn’t keeping your cool.
 
1. Look at thermostat. Is it outdated? You could save money and energy by installing a newer, programmable thermostat.
 
2. Check any exposed ductwork for wear, which could be a source of cooling loss or inefficiency in the home.
 
3. Look at air vents around the home. Remove any items that could block airflow, such as drapes, furniture or toys.
 
4. Check the drain line. There is a drain by the indoor cooling coil, typically mounted near the unit.
 
5. Change your air filter. The filter should be changed every three months (or as recommended by the manufacturer) and definitely before the start of a new cooling or heating season.
 
6. Check circuits to be sure electrical connections are on.
 
7. Be sure the power is turned “on” at the furnace/air conditioning unit.
 
In general, you should hire a good service technician at least once per year for regular maintenance to keep your system running efficiently in each season.

10 Rental Property Improvements You Can Make with Minimal Investment

1. Paint
You may not be able to paint the whole house, but you can enhance key rooms and create accent walls. Trending colors this year may include grays, blue grays and beiges.

2. Change some flooring
Putting new flooring in small entry areas and bathrooms or replacing the carpet in that one ugly bedroom could make a big difference in renting quickly and for more money.

3. Patch the Roof
After this year’s rain, you probably already know if you have any leaks. Roof leaks can cause major headaches with rentals. They can quickly deteriorate your asset, can cause ballooning repair bills, add to the maintenance interaction burden with tenants. In many cases you don’t need a new roof, just some patch work.

4. Add Smart Home Tech
Add some trendy new tech to make renters feel great about their choice. That could be smart locks or smart thermostats, better wifi, or new Google Home devices.

5. Bring in a Bar
You may be able to expand countertops or bring in a standalone bar, which really adds to the excitement and emotional appeal of a place. Especially with the Millennial renter.

6. Resurface Cabinets
Replacing kitchen and bathroom cabinets can be expensive and a lot of work. Instead, look at options for resurfacing existing ones.

7. Add a Backsplash
Kitchen backsplashes can make a massive difference in the appeal and perceived value of a home.

8. Consider Flex Office Space
Working from home is fast becoming the new norm. Many remote workers soon find that working from the sofa isn’t as effective as they expected. You may not want to reduce bedroom counts by turning one into a home office. However, you may be able to create some flex space with a cabinet, pantry, or desk build in that enables quick changes between daily living space and the office.

9. Finish the Garage
Finished garage spaces add a big “wow” factor and more value. Even on a tight budget, you may be able to finish walls, add sealed concrete flooring, or install storage.

10. Replace Hardware
Replacing front door and cabinet hardware can have one of the best returns of any home improvement.

Finding Your Dream Rental Home Can Be Difficult In This Hot Market

Finding your dream rental home can be difficult in this hot market. Looking for something that fits your budget, location and lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. It’s not as simple as running over to an apartment community and leasing a unit where you have multiple identical options to choose from. Families choose a rental home because they are looking for something that fits their unique needs and individualized wants. There are so many options in the rental market today. Finding your ideal rental and knowing where to look can be overwhelming. Homes move fast. How can you set yourself apart from the other applicants? Where do you start?

Online rental sites are great places to start your search. Many offer advanced options to help you quickly locate the perfect home for you based on the specific data you provide. While these sites are easy to use and bring a time saving value, you need to be careful. Rental scamming is prevalent. An easy way to avoid this is to work with a reputable property management firm. You can bypass any scammer by looking through the site of a legitimate property management company and their listings for rent. Many include photos and video tours of the home to maximize your virtual viewing options. If you need to schedule a tour to see a property in person, a knowledgeable professional is there to meet your at the property.
Now you’ve found your dream rental and when you arrive to view it, there is a line out the door to see it. How can you set yourself apart and gain an advantage over the other applicants? Here are 5 tips for elevate yourself to your potential landlord.

Do you have your Rental Resume’?
Get a rental resume’ together. Applying for a rental home can be as competitive as landing your dream job. The application process should be approached like that too. Landlords and property managers always conduct thorough tenant screening that includes background and credit checks. A rental resume’ can help you stand out with information about yourself and shows professionalism and the responsibility to go above and beyond. You can find templates on line to help!

Come with your paperwork filled out.
You need to be prepared to move quickly if you like what you see. It shows you’ve done your homework and are a serious applicant. Fill out the application ahead of time and make sure you’ve taken care of verification details like your record of employment and credit score. Many landlords won’t even schedule a viewing until they know you’ve me their minimum criteria of credit score and income required.

How stable is your job?
Try not to go hunting for your new rental while between jobs; the stability of your employment and ability to pay your bills, especially your rent, will be scrutinized by your prospective property manager.

Have you checked your credit score lately?
Make sure your credit score is in the best possible condition before you start looking for a rental home. A property manager or landlord will use this number as a clear indicator of your ability to pay rent on time. It is usually the deciding factor. Order your credit report and take the opportunity to correct and discrepancies or potential issues.

Be prepared to pay more if you have a credit issue.
Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes offering to pay more than first and last months rent may put you ahead of other applicants. This can be an effective way to offset a less than ideal credit score. Sometimes this can be taken into consideration and can level the playing field with a property manager.

Remember, it is the goal of every landlord or property manager to find someone they are comfortable with living at their rental and they don’t feel they may need to chase down for rent or possibly damage the property.

Frequently Asked Questions About Property Management

1. WHY SHOULD I USE A PROPERTY MANAGER
Choosing the right property management company can make real estate ownership a breeze. For people who own residential, commercial, and industrial properties, working with a respected property management and maintenance company can be a great resource. Just like management in any other business, a respected management company can monitor the care and financial requirements of any property. TMP has the skills and knowledge to make your ownership experience easy and pain-free.

2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO USING A PROPERTY MANAGER
Take comfort in knowing Tower Property Management will always treat your property as if it were our own. We will work to locate long-term residents who pay on time and show respect for your property. A property manager acts as a mediator between you and your renters alleviating the burden of busy owners, so that means for you more freedom to pursue other dreams. In many cases, issues that arise regarding your investment properties will require you to tap the experience or expertise of other professionals. Searching for qualified professionals will not only take time on your part, but will require you to learn basic fundamentals or property management. Hiring a professional real estate management company will allow you to leverage their expertise to address any and all property and tenant issues on your behalf. in addition, a real estate management company will work to ensure that your investment business is in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws for your property. And, the company will work to help you organize your business affairs, making tax time simple and easy for your business.

3. WHY RENT YOUR HOUSE
There are numerous benefits to renting out your property as opposed to selling. You can turn your primary home into an asset making you money every month instead of being a liability (something that costs you money every month).
Having a renter will allow you to hold onto your house while a monthly rent will pay down your mortgage. Hopefully property values will go back up, and your equity will increase.
Look at a renter as a way to build your investment for retirement. By the time retirement age comes around property mortgage could potentially be paid off by then and you have provided yourself with monthly income.
There is always the possibility of returning to that home if you retain it.

4. WHY HIRE A PROPERTY MANAGER
When you hire a property manager they generally will charge approximately 10% of the monthly rent plus 505 of the first month’s rent when a new tenant moves in. A property manager will also:

Advertise for new tenants
Sign leases
Collect rent
Keep track of finances
Schedule maintenance repairs
Issue legal notices
File evictions

If you do not hire a property manager then all of the responsibility falls on your shoulders. If you have the time, abilities and energy to manage yourself you can have a good deal of money. However if you do not take on the task and you really don’t have the ability it could cost more money in the long run than what a property manager would change.

Is Renting Right For Me?

Renting out your home for extra income can be a wise decision in today’s housing market. in most major cities, there is currently great demand for rental housing. and if thou must move in this current market because of a job transfer, an expanding family or any other reason, renting out your property, rather than selling it, is a great way to generate steady income while biding time for a real estate market recovery which is on its way. If you have chosen to take the leap and become a landlord, hare are a few ways that the experience is a rewarding one.

EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
The first challenge for would-be landlords is getting the home ready aesthetically to rent. The appearance and overall cleanliness of the home is essential in attracting qualified tenants, and the home needs to be pristine prior to showings. Key areas need special attention. The curb appeal is a must manicured lawns and fresh paint.

It is often said that “kitchens and bathrooms sell homes.” Well, they also rent them. Make sure these rooms are spotless. Kitchen counters and cabinets need to be clear of clutter, and appliances need to be wiped down with mild detergent inside and out. In addition, bathroom tile grout needs to be mold and mildew-free.

Most tenants expect their new home to be freshly painted, so put a neutral paint color on all the walls. Remember to put your personal tastes aside. the goal in painting is to appeal to the greatest number of people possible, so it’s not the time to take risks to explore your creative side.

MAKE IT FEEL LIKE A HOME
Now that everything is neat, clean and fresh, it’s important to make prospective tenants feel “at home” in the space. People are notoriously bad at envisioning uses for undefined spaces. For example, stage a home if possible and define the space.

While basic staging is a huge help in moving and rental property, allow your personality to be reflected in the home is never a good idea. Be sure to remove family photos, religious artifacts and anything that reveals facets of your personal life.

INSURANCE AND LEGALITIES FOR RENTING YOUR HOME
Insurance requirements for rental property vary by locality, so make sure you have the appropriate insurance for your area. In any situation where you have people residing in your home, you take on some degree of responsibility for their well-being and safety. Often known as “landlord insurance,” these policies can protect you against damage from tenants, as well as from fire and other catastrophes. In addition, most policies will reimburse you for rental income that you lost while repairs where being made in the event of a claim.

In addition, a rental property needs to have proper permits. Unfortunately, there have been many tragic cases where homes have been illegally rented that were full of health and safety hazards, and people have been injured, or worse, as a result. You may contact your local code enforcement agency to insure guidelines are being met.

ESTABLISH POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Who does the tenant contact if a pipe bursts under the sink at 3a.m.? How is the rent collected? What is the policy in terms of keeping pets? What about roommates shares? Will you accept animals and what kinds. All these policies need to be established prior to showing the apartment. in some cases (for example, if you will be living in a city other than the rental home) it may make sense to hire a representative or management company to take care of the property on your behalf and be your “eyes and ears” on the ground. Typically these property management firms charge approximately 10 percent of the monthly rent for their services. It may be well worth the expense.

Figuring out what to change monthly for rent involves taking a few factors into consideration. The first is, what expenses do you need to recover on the home (property tax, mortgage payments, etc.) and in turn, how much profit do you wish to make on the rental? Another important factor to consider is how much similar properties are renting for in the area. it would be wise to carefully review other rentals in the area. And what those properties are asking for in terms of rent.

FINDING A QUALIFIED TENANT
There are a variety of webs sites devoted to connecting renters and rental properties, but don’t forget the value of “word of mouth.” Before advertising, be sure to research fair housing laws to ensure that you stay with their guidelines in terms of providing equal opportunity housing. It’s important to check applicants’ credit to get a sense of their payment history, and all leases should clearly define a sure to collect security deposits equivalent to at least one month’s rent to hedge against potential damage to the property that’s inflicted by the tenant

IS BEING A LANDLORD RIGHT FOR ME?
While being a landlord has its challenge, for a person with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire for extra income, despite the inevitable headaches, renting out your home can be the solution. It’s important to keep a positive attitude and expect the unexpected. Despite the hazards, becoming a landlord have proven to be a positive experience for a number of people

Best of luck on your decision.

College Rentals in Riverside, CA

College Rentals in Riverside have a cycle similar to the school year. Most students and parents paying for tuition want to start a cycle in September and end June 1 or when the college term ends, while it makes it more difficult to find a renter for the short three month term. Typically, a landlord may be able to charge a higher than normal rental fee to compensate for the loss of income.

It is not unusual for affluent parents to purchase a rental property and have a child manage the home and find tenants (friends to occupy rooms and share costs). It really takes some of the ouch out of the high tuition bills and if timing is good can be financially beneficial at the same time of sale.

Owning an investment property that your child can live in while at school can make a college education more affordable, depending on how long you hold it and how much appreciation can be realized.

Speaking from personal experience, I purchased a home in a college town near the beach. After 25% down payment, from day one the property paid for itself through rental revenue. During the summer months our family used it as a beach getaway.

The downside to renting to college students is that they are college students and the focus in their life is getting good education and fun!

Careful screening and good communication of expectations are of paramount importance. Routine inspections are a must! I recommend every 3 months insuring proper maintenance of yard and interior.

Collecting a healthy security deposit, requiring each student to have adequate credit and having parents cosign is a must.

Like any investment the rewards can be great and there is some risk but you can minimize the risk by taking the above actions.

5 Steps To Renting Out Your Home

Prepare the Unit for Showing
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to provide a safe and healthy home for your tenants. An updated or clean home will not only increase your likelihood of finding a tenant, but will also allow you to charge higher rent. Some suggestions to prepare the unit; fill any holes and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, fireproof the place by installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, have chimney cleaned, check doors, locks, and lighting and appliances for proper working order, fix any plumbing leaks, if water bill is in your name install low flow shower heads. As you go through home create a checklist to use when tenant moves in and out.

Getting your Paperwork in Order
You will need on hand a Tenant Application Form, Rental/Lease Agreement Form and Eviction Notice Form (hopefully will not need but better to have on hand). Make sure your mortgage company does not need to be notified you no longer reside in home and now is a rental. In addition, this could also apply to your Homeowner’s Insurance.

Make Sure the Place is Right
Research the rent rates in your area and place your ad. Utilize Zillow, Craigslist, and newspaper. Another consideration is an Application Fee, which you should always take with the application. You can charge whatever you like but the recommendation would be to call property management companies to find out what they are charging and charge a similar amount. Be sure to check with local and State agencies to make sure there aren’t any restrictions how much you can charge. The application fee covers the cost of the background check.

A security deposit is a sum of money paid by a tenant to ensure they fulfill the terms of their lease. This is a deposit not a fee. This money should be held in separate bank account and returned to the tenant when the tenant moves out, unless any damages need to be repaired.

Show to Prospective Tenants
Always pre-screen ahead of time when a prospective tenant phones. As a way of saving time for both you and the prospective tenant a rental criterion needs to be established and then explained over the phone. Bullet points for criteria are as follows:

The gross monthly income must equal approximately three times or more the monthly rent.
Applicants must have a favorable credit history
Applicants must be employed and be able to furnish acceptable proof of the required income.
Applicants must have good references from all previous landlords.
A limit per bedroom of the number of occupants. Usually State law dictates a 2 person limit.
Showing property can be streamlined by two avenues; give the address to them so they may drive by property. If they are interested tell them to call back and a showing of inside can be conducted. This eliminates the people who are disinterested because of the location, other avenue is if you more than one interested party a possible Open House. Set a day and time then inform tenants you will be available during that time to show property. Having multiple tenants look at property at same time can be awkward but this creates a sense of competition and scarcity which allows for more applications.

Selecting the Right Candidates
After pre-screening and showing property it is time to look at a background and credit check along with verifying all information tenants has provided. Depending on how many applications you received will determine how picky you may be and only accept highest qualified tenant. If you are struggling in application department a loosening of your standards slightly might be in order.

A lot of landlords look at the rental history and income in more regard than say the credit history, this depends, in particular, to the area. Certain areas have an abundance of foreclosures and those homeowners will be seeking to rent, doesn’t necessarily make them bad risk, one can lose a home for a multitude of reasons.

Things to look closely at on the background and credit checks are:

Prior felonies
Prior evictions filed
Prior evictions carried out
Bankruptcy
Judgments
Other criminal or bad financial history
It is vital you verify everything that the tenant writes on their applications. People will tell less than the truth when knowing they might not qualify. A “release of information” signature form from your prospective tenant to allow you to properly check up on their claims. Many times you will be required to fax over the release of information signature.

Important questions to ask employers:

How much do they currently make?
How long have they worked there?
Is this job considered temporary?

Call all the previous landlords for at least five years to verify information and ask the following questions:

How long did the tenant rent from you?
What was their monthly rent?
Did the tenant give proper notice when vacating?>
Did the tenant receive back their security deposit?
Would you rent to this tenant again?
Accepting or Denying an Applicant

After receiving their background check and verifying information listed on their application correct, you will have a good idea if they are an ideal fit as a tenant. If you receive multiple applications which qualify avoid discrimination complaints by processing applications on a first come first serve basis.

When you deny it is necessary for you to clearly spell out in writing why you are denying them. Keep copies of all records pertaining to the prospective tenant so you can back up your reasons for denial.

When you find an applicant which meets all requirements you can verbally let them know that they are approved. Since there is nothing stopping an applicant from finding another place while checks are being conducted it is important to require a deposit to hold the vacant property. This deposit is non-refundable and should be due within 24 hours of being accepted. This deposit will turn into their security deposit so it’s not an unexpected cost for the applicant. Simply let the approved applicant know that you cannot hold the property indefinitely so if they want to guarantee their position they will need to pay the deposit within 24 hours. Sometimes landlords will require this deposit when application is filled out and if they do not qualify deposit is simply returned. After collecting deposit be sure to sign two copies of a “deposit to hold agreement” that states what the deposit is for and what the terms are. Document should state; Applicant has until ‘such and such” date to sign a lease agreement and if not signed by that date, the deposit will be forfeited to the landlord. A copy goes to you and one to prospective tenant, which will serve as a receipt.

Rental Lease Agreement

Most landlords will have a tenant sign a one-year rental agreement to keep tenant in the house as long as possible and minimize turnover. Other option would be a month to month lease. Benefit to this option is being able to remove quicker an unruly or problematic tenant.

Most lease agreements contain the following information:

Names of tenants
Address of rental property
Lease term length
Rent amount
Security deposit amount
Late fee description
The move-in condition report
Provisions for or against pets, utilities, smoking and more
Depending on the State you live in you may also be required to provide certain State and Federal documents which also depends on when house was built and State laws. The pamphlet called “Protecting Your Family from Lead in the Home” is one such if your home was built prior to 1978.

Signing the Lease

It is best to have tenant meet you at the property to sign the lease agreement. If you go through the lease ahead of time and mark all pertinent areas signatures are required with a highlighter this alleviates probability of missing any areas. It may be time consuming but going through the lease step by step with tenant will help offset down the road the “I did not know that” remark.

Rent/Move-in Condition Report

A good time to accept the initial rent payment is when you reach that part in the lease agreement where it says how much the monthly rent is. Remember you have already accepted the Security Deposit when they signed “deposit to hold”, also it is good practice to have rent given in certified fund form only i.e. Cashier’s check or a Money Order.

Okay, the rent and security deposit has been paid and lease has been signed. One more thing before handing over the keys! The move-in condition report is simply a paper that the tenant will sign in which documents, in detail, the condition of the property. Let the tenant walk through property taking notes on anything that needs to be addressed i.e. stains on the carpet, holes in walls etc… Hopefully since you have updated and painted the property prior to renting out they will not find issues. Taking pictures or videos of the property before handing over keys is another way to produce further evidence in the future when tenant moves out if any issues arise. You must document, document, document. In addition, never let a tenant move in things before signing the lease and paying the rent. It could potentially be disastrous.

Congratulations, you are officially a landlord! Hopefully you are ready for the job, but if after reading this you realize there is more to it than perhaps you really want to take on, Tower Property Management is waiting for your phone call. Our professionals will take the bite out of renting and deal with all aspects of handling tenants. You may contact us at 951.686.3547.

Model Code of Ethics for Community

This model code of ethics is not meant to address every potential ethical dilemma encountered by a community association board member, but is offered as a basic framework that can be modified and adopted by any common-interest community.


BOARD MEMBERS SHOULD:

  • Strive at all times to serve the best interests of the association as a whole regardless of their personal interests.
  • Use sound judgement to make the best possible business decisions for the association, taking into consideration all available information, circumstances and resources.
  • Act within the boundaries of their authority as defined by law and the governing documents of the association.
  • Provide opportunities for residents to comment on decisions facing the association.
  • Perform their duties without bias for or against any individual or group of owners or non-owner residents.
  • Disclose personal or professional relationships with any company or individual who has or is seeking to have a business relationship with the association.
  • Conduct open, fair, and well-publicized elections.
  • Always speak with one voice, supporting all duty-adopted board decisions even if the board member was in the minority regarding actions that may not have obtained unanimous consent.

BOARD MEMBERS SHOULD NOT:

  • Reveal confidential information provided by contractors or share information with those bidding for association contracts unless specifically authorized by the board.
  • Make unauthorized promises to a contractor or bidder.
  • Advocate or support any action or activity that violates a law or regulatory requirement.
  • Use their positions or decision-making authority for personal gain or to seek advantage over another owner or non-owner resident.
  • Spend unauthorized association funds for their own personal use or benefit.
  • Accept any gifts – directly or indirectly- from owners, residents, contractors, or suppliers.
  • Misrepresent known facts in any issue involving association business.
  • Divulge personal information about any association owner, resident, or employee that was obtained in the performance of board duties.
  • Make personal attacks on colleagues, staff or residents.
  • Harass, threaten or attempt through any means to control or instill fear in any board member, owner, resident or other third party the discussions, decisions, and comments made at any meeting of the board property closed or held in executive session.

Governance Guidelines

There are basic expectations that apply to virtually any common-interest community. With this in mind, the center for Community Association Volunteers developed the Community Association Governance Guidelines – 12 principles that can help association board members increase harmony, reduce conflict and build stronger, more successful communities.


  • Annual meetings. Conduct at least one membership meeting annually, providing at least two weeks if specified in the governing documents or dictated by state statute.
  • Assessments. Collect assessments and other fees from homeowners in a timely and equitable manner and in accordance with state statutes and board-approved procedures.
  • Communication. Provide at least one form of regular communication with residents, and use it to report substantive actions taken by the board.
  • Conflicts of interest. Disclose all personal and financial conflicts of interest before assuming a board position and, once on the board, before participating in any board decisions
  • Elections. Hold fair and open elections in strict conformance with governing documents, giving all candidates an equal opportunity to express their views and permitting each candidate to have a representative observe the vote-counting process.
  • Financial Transparency, Share critical information and rationale with residents about budgets, reserve funding, special assessments and other issues that could impact their financial obligations to the association. Give members an opportunity – before final decisions are made – to ask questions of a representative who is fully familiar with these financial issues.
  • Foreclosure. Initiate lien and foreclosure proceedings only as a last step in a well-defined debt-collection procedure – and only after other, less-disruptive measures have failed to resolve a serious delinquency issue in a specified period of time.
  • Governance and law. Govern and manage the community in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Conduct reviews of governing documents to ensure legal compliance and to determine whether amendments are necessary.
  • Grievances and appeals. Allow residents to bring grievances before the board or a board-appointed committee, and follow well-publicized procedures that give residents the opportunity to correct violations before imposing fines or other sanctions.
  • Records. Allow homeowners reasonable access to appropriate community records, including annual budgets and board meeting minutes.
  • Reserve funding. Account for anticipated long-term expenditures as part of the annual budget-development process, commissioning a reserve study when professional expertise is warranted.
  • Rules. Enforce all rules, including architectural guidelines, uniformly, but only after seeking compliance on a voluntary basis. Distribute proposals for new rules and guidelines to all homeowners and non-owner residents. Advise them when the board will consider new rules and encourage input. Once adopted, new rules and encourage input. Once adopted, new rules and effective dates should be distributed to every owner and resident.

Note: Laws governing common-interest communities vary considerably from state to state. Association boards should consult with attorneys to ensure their association is governed in accordance with all federal, state and local laws and regulations

 

Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities

Principles for Homeowners and Community Leaders

More than a destination at the end of the day, a community is a place people want to call home and where they feel at home. This goal is best achieved when homeowners, non-owner residents and association leaders recognize and accept their rights and responsibilities. This entails striking a reasonable balance between the preferences of individual homeowners and the best interests of the community as a whole. It is with this challenge in mind that Community Associations Institute (CAI) developed Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities. Rights and Responsibilities can serve as an important guidepost for all those involved in the community—board and committee members, community managers, homeowners and non-owner residents.


Homeowners Have the Right To:

  • A responsive and competent community association.
  • Participate in governing the community association by attending meetings, serving
    on committees and standing for election.
  • Access appropriate association books and records.
  • Prudent expenditure of fees and other assessments.
  • Live in a community where the property is maintained according to established standards.
  • Fair treatment regarding financial and other association obligations, including the opportunity
    to discuss payment plans and options with the association before foreclosure is initiated.
  • Receive all documents that address rules and regulations governing the community
    association—if not prior to purchase and settlement by a real estate agent or attorney,
    then upon joining the community.
  • Appeal to appropriate community leaders those decisions affecting non-routine
    financial responsibilities or property rights.

Homeowners Have the Responsibility To:

  • Read and comply with the governing documents of the community.
  • Maintain their property according to established standards.
  • Treat association leaders honestly and with respect.
  • Vote in community elections and on other issues.
  • Pay association assessments and charges on time.
  • Contact association leaders or managers, if necessary, to discuss financial obligations
    and alternative payment arrangements.
  • Request reconsideration of material decisions that personally affect them.
  • Provide current contact information to association leaders or managers to help ensure
    they receive information from the community.
  • Ensure that those who reside on their property (e.g., tenants, relatives, friends)
    adhere to all rules and regulations.

Community Leaders Have the Right To:

  • Expect owners and non-owner residents to meet their financial obligations to the community.
  • Expect residents to know and comply with the rules and regulations of the community
    and to stay informed by reading materials provided by the association.
  • Respectful and honest treatment from residents.
  • Conduct meetings in a positive and constructive atmosphere.
  • Receive support and constructive input from owners and non-owner residents.
  • Personal privacy at home and during leisure time in the community.
  • Take advantage of educational opportunities (e.g., publications, training workshops) that are
    directly related to their responsibilities, and as approved by the association

Community Leaders Have the Responsibility To:

  • Fulfill their fiduciary duties to the community and exercise discretion in a manner they
    reasonably believe to be in the best interests of the community.
  • Exercise sound business judgment and follow established management practices.
  • Balance the needs and obligations of the community as a whole with those of
    individual homeowners and residents.
  • Understand the association’s governing documents and become educated with respect
    to applicable state and local laws, and to manage the community association accordingly.
  • Establish committees or use other methods to obtain input from owners
    and non-owner residents.
  • Conduct open, fair and well-publicized elections.
  • Welcome and educate new members of the community—owners and non-owner
    residents alike.
  • Encourage input from residents on issues affecting them personally and the
    community as a whole.
  • Encourage events that foster neighborliness and a sense of community.
  • Conduct business in a transparent manner when feasible and appropriate.
  • Allow homeowners access to appropriate community records, when requested.
  • Collect all monies due from owners and non-owner residents.
  • Devise appropriate and reasonable arrangements, when needed and as feasible,
    to facilitate the ability of individual homeowners to meet their financial obligations
    to the community.
  • Provide a process residents can use to appeal decisions affecting their non-routine
    financial responsibilities or property rights—where permitted by law and the association’s
    governing documents.
  • Initiate foreclosure proceedings only as a measure of last resort.
  • Make covenants, conditions and restrictions as understandable as possible, adding clarifying
    “lay” language or supplementary materials when drafting or revising the documents.
  • Provide complete and timely disclosure of personal and financial conflicts of interest
    related to the actions of community leaders, e.g., officers, the board and committees.(Community associations may want to develop a code of ethics.)