Q: Our community is small but part of a large master HOA. We only have 50 single family homes, and the master HOA charges us a small annual fee and we don’t receive any services that I know of. Would it be advantageous for us to form a neighborhood association to manage our community and provide better services?
A: While it may not feel like you are getting any services from the master association, chances are you are paying for your community’s share of the common roadways and landscape and perhaps a guardhouse or other common amenity. Before undertaking the process of forming a new association for your neighborhood, the community leaders should really think about their goals. Do you want more control on aesthetics and architectural issues? Do you want more restrictions on leasing, pets and basketball hoops? If your master association documents are fairly basic in terms of rules and restrictions in your community, you might find if you polled your neighborhood that the residents enjoy the freedoms that they have with their properties. Therefore, my first suggestion is that you schedule a “town hall” type meeting with your residents to discuss the pros and cons of forming a neighborhood association. An advantage of having an association is that the homeowners can bargain for bulk services such as landscaping and cable television. A disadvantage, as discussed above, is the additional restrictions and regulation some owners may not want. Further, any homeowners who do not wish to join in the recording of your new HOA documents will not be bound by them. If you struggle to get the support you need, you might consider forming a volunteer homeowners association that can provide some services to the community.