1. What is a homeowners association (HOA)?
A homeowners’ association is a non-profit corporation or other entity formed by the developer for the sale and marketability of residential property. Additionally, through By-Laws and legally binding CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), the HOA plays a role in creating and maintaining long-term residential property values by enforcing architectural standards and managing common area maintenance. Importantly, CC&Rs address the rights and obligations of the homeowners to the Association and the Association’s responsibility to the members. A monthly assessment (dues) is charged to the members for funding the HOA. Through a board of directors elected from the membership, the HOA has broad fiduciary responsibilities to the community.
2. What does membership in the HOA provide?
- Private amenities and facilities
- Exterior and roof maintenance of townhomes
- Professional landscape maintenance
- Parking enforcement and security patrols
- Fulltime professional property management
- Property insurance
- Privatization of some services e.g., street sweeping, private street maintenance, private street parking
- Participation in community governance
- Ownership interest in common areas
- Standardized rules for owners and residents (HOA Rules)
- Local control of community aesthetics and architecture
- Cohesion of community living standards
- Access to HOA financial data
- Comprehensive website resources
- Privacy through limited street access
- Dispute resolution
3. Can I opt-out of paying the HOA assessment if I don’t use the amenities or common areas?
No. Upon the purchase of a home in Aegean Heights, you become a member of the Homeowners Association and you are obligated to pay the assessment.
4. Will the assessment affect how much I can borrow?
Yes. When borrowing money to purchase your home, lenders will look at potential taxes, insurance, and HOA payments. These factors may change how much house you can afford and ultimately how much a bank will lend you. If you’re on a tight budget, be mindful of any HOA fees that may be required once you purchase the home.
5. What kinds of things can the HOA regulate?
In addition to managing the business concerns of the community, the HOA ensures that owners are properly caring for their homes and that a consistent look and feel is maintained throughout the community. This includes regulating exterior paint colors, exterior maintenance, private landscape and hardscape, the use of amenities, parking on private streets, and more.
6. What happens if I don’t pay my assessment or if I break HOA rules?
Nonpayment of the HOA assessment can result in significant financial consequences. Notifications of delinquencies will include late fees and interest. If collection agency action is required, this cost will be added to the outstanding account balance. Further action may involve the filing of a lien against the property and seriously delinquent accounts may result in property foreclosure. See Delinquent Assessments and Remedies under Assessments and Budget.
Communication is key regarding the violation of HOA Rules. The HOA will seek the resolution of rule violations through the gradual escalation of compliance measures beginning with informal requests, courtesy letters, hearings, and eventually fines.
In some rare cases, legal action may be taken. See HOA Rules under Governing Documents and Forms.
7. What’s the big deal regarding the Architectural Approval Request Form?
The fundamental purpose of our Articles of Incorporation (filed with the State in 1973), as a planned unit development is property maintenance, preservation, and architectural control. Compliance with the Architectural Approval process before performing any improvements, modifications, or other architectural/ landscape changes provides a ticket for safe passage. In most cases, defending unapproved architectural modifications after the fact is a losing rear-guard action. Not only should improvements and modifications go through the approval process but also the removal and replacement of existing architectural features should be submitted for approval. See Architectural Restrictions and Maintenance under HOA Rules under Governing Documents and Forms. The Architectural Approval Request Form is also available at Governing Documents and Forms.
8. How can I verify that an architectural change being made by my neighbor is approved?
Contact TSG for this information at 949-481-0555.
9. What are my options if I feel that the Board has overreached in the enforcement of HOA Rules?
After the Board decides on enforcement action for a rule violation, the member has 60 days to present an argument and/or further evidence as to why the decisions should be overturned. Before legal action is initiated by either party, California Law now requires that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) measures be implemented which may involve mediation, negotiation, and binding and non-binding arbitration. See Alternative Dispute Resolution and Internal Dispute Resolution under HOA Rules. Also, see further information regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution under Governing Documents and Forms.
10. Where can I get a quick snapshot of the Association’s financial status?
See the Annual Budget, the Assessment and Reserve Funding, and the most recent Reserve Study at Governing Documents and Forms.
11. Can the Association recommend trusted contractors to perform work on my home?
No. The Association must not be perceived as limiting contractor work in the community to a favored few. Therefore, the Association must refrain from making recommendations. It’s strictly the owners’ business when it comes to hiring a contractor for private work. Except for interior work and minor exterior maintenance, most contractor work must be first approved via the Architectural Approval Procedures.
12. As an owner, am I responsible if my property is rented and my renters violate HOA Rules?
Yes. Renters are held to the same Rules as owners. Courtesy Letters will be first sent to the owner(s) in the event of violations.
13. Who do I call if my vehicle has been towed for a parking violation?
Contact Patrol Masters, 1651 East 4th Street Suite#150, Santa Ana, CA 92710
14. Who should I call if my home suffers water damage from any source or if I detect a water leak on or near my property?
All water leaks, including irrigation lines, must be promptly reported to TSG at 949-481-0555. In order to minimize waste and to prevent property damage, report utility line leaks (usually identified by water seeping from under a street, under curbing, or from a water meter) to El Toro Water District (ETWD) 24/7 Emergency Contact at 949-837-0660.
Non-emergency utility line leaks should also be reported to this number. Financial responsibility for the repair of water lines depends upon the source of the leak. The owner is generally responsible for the repair of water line leaks from the meter to the home, for slab leaks, and for interior lines, including wastewater lines. In situations involving extensive water damage, the HOA insurance may come into play.
15. If I report a violation of HOA Rules to TSG will I be identified to the offender?
No. Violation reporting is strictly confidential.
16. Who should I call if I witness or discover vandalism, or I observe suspicious activity in our community?
In all situations, notify the Orange County Sheriff’s Department non-emergency dispatcher at 949-770-6011 Press 9. Additionally, notify TSG when damage or vandalism is involved at 949-481-0555 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.