Thankful for my HOA

h o a homefront hoa homefront Nov 27, 2023

By Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL, HOA Homefront Column

As an HOA member for many years, I pondered if my HOA should be one of the things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving. With all its limitations and problems, there are multiple aspects of my HOA that I appreciate.

Here are the top reasons that I’m thankful for my HOA:

I can afford to own in an area where detached single homes are hard to find and generally out of my financial reach. The HOA is a style of shared ownership housing that allows me to own in an area I otherwise couldn’t afford.

I have many amenities I otherwise could never have, such as tennis courts, a pool, a clubhouse, and other recreational and relaxation areas.

I don’t have to worry about major repairs to the buildings and grounds. My HOA has prudently set its assessments to cover expenses as well as carefully accumulated reserve funds to prepare for the normal deterioration of common area elements.

I don’t have to think about landscaping or building exterior maintenance. The HOA has vendors or employees to handle that. I don’t need my own stable of plumbers, roofers, carpenters, and the like because the HOA handles all those things. I only have to take care of the inside of my home.

I am protected from the potential misbehavior of my neighbors. In my primary home, there are no CC&Rs or rules to rein in un-neighborly behavior. However, in my HOA I know that there are certain levels of rules which set standards of conduct. These rules may cramp our style at times, but they protect us from people preventing me from quietly enjoying my home.

I rely on a veteran and devoted professional manager to look out for all the owners and residents. Our manager regularly checks with on-site staff and vendors to make sure everybody is doing their job.

I am served by a volunteer board of directors who take on the decisions about everything from assessments to zoning compliance. They ensure all neighbors are able to observe board meetings and to ask questions without feeling that our questions are resented or threatening.

I do not personally control the budget and therefore the HOA’s assessments. At first, that grated against me to see others making those decisions regarding the HOA expenses and ensuring the property is properly cared for. However, it is nice that I don’t have to worry about it either. I just pay my share of the expenses through my assessments and enjoy the work done by others.

I can maximize my enjoyment of staying at my HOA home with most of the burdens handled by others. Sure, I like to control things, and it’s an adjustment to allow others to control the overall project, but it has worked out for me to let others handle those pressures.

I acknowledge and accept the trade-off of individual autonomy in exchange for the many benefits of shared ownership and community living.

I will periodically take my turn to volunteer for the board or committees as my abilities and schedule permits. Until then, you’ll find me out on my balcony or at the pool, relaxing, just soaking in the environment and glad for my HOA home.

Even though it's not perfect, I’m thankful because it works for me.