Common Questions
  • What is the purpose of a community association?
    The primary purpose of a community association is to establish an entity that will preserve, maintain, enhance and protect the value of property and amenities within the boundaries of a specific community. Community associations are commonly established as a non-profit corporation.
  • What are the governing documents?
    Governing documents are recorded legal documents which may include Articles of Incorporation, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, Bylaws, among others which determine structure of an association and establish obligations and responsibilities of its members and elected officer and directors.
  • Are governing documents received by each association member?
    Copies of governing documents are provided along with closing documents when purchase transaction is completed. Additional or replacement copies may be obtained from the association for a nominal fee.
  • What are deed restrictions?
    Upon acceptance of a deed to property which is subject to conditions, covenants, and restrictions that “run with the land”, the owner is responsible for adherence to the provisions set forth in governing documents, which ensure rights of enjoyment and require compliance with specific restrictions.
  • Is the association resposible for member compliance with restrictions?
    If an association member fails to comply with any conditions, covenant, restriction or rules and regulations, the association Board of Directors is authorized to require remedy or removal. Specific policies and procedures are established to accomplish violation notification, penalties and legal enforcement.
  • What is common area?
    The term common area is generally used to describe all elements within the community that are owned and maintained by the association, and dedicated to shared use and enjoyment of all owners
  • What is a "Master" association?
    Large scale planned communities establish a “Master Association” that is responsible for governing the entire community. Individual neighborhoods within a large planned community may also be governed additionally by a separate “Sub Association”.
  • Are architectural modifications or property improvements allowed?
    In order to preserve the aesthetic quality of a community, prior approval of any exterior alteration, modification, or addition to individual property is required. Forms and applications for submission of detailed plans and specifications are available upon request.
  • Who has authority to approve exterior modifications?
    The authority to review and approve modification is generally delegated to an Architectural Review Committee in accordance with governing documents.
  • Who controls the association?
    Community associations are initially controlled by a Declarant, generally the developer of a specific community, who filed the recorded governing documents.
    Individuals are appointed by the Declarant to serve as the association’s Board of Directors until stated requirements have been met for transition to owner control and membership election of the Board of Directors.
  • Who are members of the Association?
    Most community associations require mandatory membership in the association for every owner of a lot within the boundaries of a specific community.
  • Who is entitled to vote?
    The property owner with legal title to a parcel of property (lot) and verified as an association member in good standing is entitled to vote.
  • What are assessment fees?
    Assessment fees (dues) are fees that are imposed upon on individual lots by the association in accordance with the governing documents.
  • Who determines amount due for assessment fees?
    The amount of individual assessment fees is based on income required to cover the expenditures and contingencies required to maintain a sound and prudent financial condition for the association. After comprehensive review and approval of an association annual budget, the Board of Directors will determine if an increase in individual assessment fees will be necessary to accommodate a balanced budget.
  • Can assessment fees be increased?
    Yes, requirements for approval of an increase in fees are set forth in the Declaration. Some Declarations provide that a limited percentage increase may be automatically imposed annually without a vote of the membership.
  • How do I pay fees due to the association?
    Association assessment fees (dues) are billed by statement when due and payable. Payment should be made only by check payable to the association or by electronic bank account debit or credit card debit if selective options of payment methods are offered by the association.
  • Is the association annual budget published?
    A copy of the annual budget is mailed to all owners prior to be adopted. You may request a budget at anytime throughout the year.
  • What does association insurance cover?
    Prudent risk management requires adequate insurance coverage for all association property, general liability, and directors and officers protection.
  • What is an association manager?
    An association manager is a company, such as Shew Community Management, that is hired and appointed by the Board of Directors to implement approved policies and procedures and provide effective management and guidance for daily administrative, financial, and operational duties of the association.
  • Who should be contacted for association inquiry or service?
    The association manager is responsible for receipt and response of association inquiries and service requests. Requests requiring attention of the Board of Directors will be referred for consideration.
  • How can we motivate residents to report rules violations?
    Enforcing association rules is a difficult task. The board has a duty to enforce the rules, but, as in your case, it often gets little or no assistance from community members who are reluctant to report violations by their neighbors.

Community Association Institute
  • What is CAI?
    CAI is a national, nonprofit 501(c)6 association created in 1973 to educate and represent America's residential community association (CA) industry. It is a multidisciplinary alliance leading the industry and fostering effective community associations. Its members include: condominium and homeowner associations, cooperatives, and association-governed planned communities of all sizes and architectural types; community or property managers and management firms; individual homeowners; lawyers, accountants, engineers, builders/developers and other providers of professional services and products for CAs. CAI estimates that over 63 million Americans live in dwellings governed by a community association. 
  • Why was CAI formed?
    To provide education, legislative advocacy, and to act as a clearinghouse for ideas and practices that encourage successful operation and management of all types of residential common-interest housing. 
  • How many members?
    CAI has more than 32,000 members and 60 chapters throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries. The national office and its 35-person staff are in Falls Church, Virginia. 
  • How does CAI serve its members?
    Through workshops, conferences, and education programs, some of which lead to professional designations; books and periodicals such as Common Ground magazine and 8 specialized newsletters on CA finance, law, management, and related subjects; legislative action to support and protect associations and related CA professionals; networking and referral opportunities through both the national office and local CAI chapters; CAI-sponsored insurance programs for directors and officers; and discounts on products.