What is an HOA?
An HOA or “Homeowner Association” is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community. These “common areas” consist of things like pedestrian trails, playground equipment, open spaces, dry ponds, signage, etc. The Preserve at Rock Creek consists of single family homes and town homes and as is the norm, was setup by the original developer of the community with a set of rules called “Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions” otherwise known as “CC&Rs”. One of the primary functions of the HOA is to enforce and ensure that these “CC&Rs” are adhered to by the individual homeowners. The guiding principles of these regulations are normally to help maintain property values and the quality of life within the community.
If I buy a home within an HOA, do I have to belong to the HOA?
Yes, the only way an HOA can work correctly is if everyone who lives within its boundaries belongs to the HOA and pays dues.
What is the difference between a BOD meeting and an HOA meeting and can I attend both?
Yes, you can attend both a BOD meeting and an HOA meeting. HOA meetings will be held at least annually and sometimes bi-annually. BOD meetings will be more frequent in nature and will be a place for the BOD to meet and discuss community business. HOA meetings will be more open for comment from the community while BOD meetings will have a short comment period of about 15-20 minutes each meeting. BOD meetings are where the BOD can meet in public and where all community members can observe the BOD at work. The BOD meetings are where the BOD can conduct business and make decisions on behalf of the community.
Why is my correspondence with the Board of Directors & HOA Committees through a management company?
The Preserve at Rock Creek utilizes a company to manage the day-to-day business of our Home Owners Association. This commercial entity specializes in Home Owner Associations and is the official conduit between the HOA and the Board of Directors. Use of this company ensures our home owners have a team of individuals ready to process requests, document incoming requests and comments, answer immediate questions and provide other services as appropriate during normal business hours. All correspondence to this company is still seen by the Board of Directors as submitted. Use of this company within this manner ensures our home owners receive the best service possible.
What is the difference between the HOA and the board of directors?
The HOA consists of all owners within the geographic boundaries of the HOA. Each and every owner is a member of the HOA. Membership is not optional. The Board of Directors consists of those owners who have been elected to conduct the day-to-day business of the HOA and make the decisions that affect all owners.
I would like to build a 12-foot fence but the HOA deed restrictions state that a fence can only be 6 feet high? Do I have any recourse?
Fair and uniform enforcement of an HOA’s deed restrictions is critical to maintaining property values. Association deed restriction cases are typically overturned in the courts if there has been inconsistent application of an association’s rules and regulations over the years. Thus, unless you can show that the rule has not been applied consistently, you won’t have much recourse.
What is the difference between a review and an audit?
A financial review consists of the auditor inquiring of association or management company personnel in order to verify the financial records of the association. Unless deemed necessary, the accountant is not required to obtain any independent corroboration to substantiate the personnel presentations. In contrast, as part of a certified audit, the auditor must obtain independent evidence to substantiate the assertions made by the association’s employees and management. In addition to a big difference in detail and thoroughness, a review can cost hundreds of dollars less than an audit. The board of directors makes the decision on what level of analysis will take place. Although many state laws governing associations and an association’s governing documents may require an independent audit, some boards choose to save money and contract for a review.
What is a Reserve Study?
In order to maintain and preserve market values of both the residential and common area property, an HOA must develop funding plans for future repair or replacement of major common-area components, such as pedestrian trails, playground equipment, dry ponds, trees, shrubs, benches, and much more. Thus, a Reserve Study provides guidance on how much your HOA should be putting aside each month for reserves so it can meet the future obligations described above without requiring special assessments.
What should I do before buying a home in an HOA?
Thoroughly read and examine the CC&Rs that govern the community and make sure you can live with and abide by them. Find out what the monthly dues are and make sure you can afford them. Find out if a reserve study has been done for long term replacement of major items such as pedestrian trails, dry ponds, playground equipment, common area trees, shrubs, benches, signage and roundabouts and how the reserve requirements are funded. Find out if there is any litigation pending against the HOA. Determine the last time and how often dues have been raised. Find out if there are any special assessments pending.
Trash Collection & Recycling
Trash collection services are provided by Potomac Disposal whose telephone number is 301.294.9700 extension 101 for any questions regarding service. The schedule for trash removal is on every Monday and Thursday. The only holidays observed by Potomac Disposal are Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and New Year’s Day (Jan. 1); if one of those holidays fall on a scheduled trash pickup day then trash pick-up will NOT occur that day. Trash service will resume the NEXT regularly scheduled pick-up day.
Household trash must be placed in (homeowner procured) containers made for trash confinement aka “trash cans” and placed curbside by 6:00 am on collection day as collections will be made during the morning hours with pickup potentially starting as early as 6:00 am. Trash cans must have a lid/cover that is made for the container and attaches securely atop to keep trash within the container and protected from wildlife & weather events. Trash cans and recycling bins must be removed from the front curb following trash pick-up and are never to be stored in front of the homeowner’s home or remain in public view on non-collection days. Please do not use plastic or paper bags that are not placed within an approved trash container or leave loose trash in the common area.
Leaf and grass clippings may be left curbside along with other recyclable materials on day of pickup. Packing boxes may be left if broken down flat. A bulk pick up is any non-recyclable item that cannot fit into your trash can. All metal items, cardboard/paper and/or commingle (bottles, cans, glass, aluminum, etc.) material and yard waste MUST be recycled through Montgomery County – you can reach them at 240.777.0311. Montgomery County recycling follows a different holiday schedule. Anytime there is a holiday during the week in which recycling is scheduled for pick-up then regularly scheduled recycling pick-up will shift by one day. For example, if Monday is a holiday and normal community pick-up for recycling in Thursday, then that week only, recycling pick-up will shift to Friday.