Homeowner Rights and Responsibilites
As a homeowner in our association, you have certain rights—and responsibilities.
You have the right to . . .
- A responsive and competent community association.
- Honest, fair, and respectful treatment by community leaders and managers.
- Attend meetings, serve on committees, and run for election.
- Access appropriate association records.
- Prudent financial management of fees and other assessments.
- Live in a community where the property is maintained according to established standards.
- Fair treatment regarding financial and other association obligations, including the opportunity to discuss payment plans and options before the association takes any legal action, and the right to appeal decisions.
- Receive all rules and regulations governing the community association—if not prior to purchase and settlement, then upon joining the community.
You also have the responsibility to . . .
- Maintain your property according to established standards.
- Treat association leaders with honesty and respect.
- Read and comply with rules and regulations of the community and ensure that your tenants and guest do too.
- Vote in community elections and on other issues.
- Pay association assessments and charges on time.
- Contact association leaders or managers, if necessary, to discuss financial obligations and alternative payment arrangements.
- Request reconsideration of material decisions that personally affect you.
- Provide your current contact information to the association so you receive all information from the community.
How To Be A Good Neighbor
A little consideration goes a long way. Read the following tips from eHow.com on how to be a good neighbor beyond just a smile and a wave.
- Welcome any new neighbors with a personal note or pop by for a personal introduction.
- Make sure that the outside of your home—along with the grounds—is well-kept and complies with our association’s CC&Rs.
- Be mindful of noise—loud music, barking dogs, power tools—that may disrupt the neighborhood beyond a reasonable hour.
- If you have a large party, consider your neighbors when directing your guests where to park, end the party at a reasonable hour and invite your neighbors to join in the fun.
- Return anything you borrow from your neighbor promptly, in the same condition they lent it to you, and express your thanks.
- Replace anything of your neighbor’s that you, your children or your pets break or soil.
- Respect your neighbor’s privacy.
- Offer to take care of mail pick-up, plants or pets while your neighbor is on vacation.
- Be social! Inviting a neighbor over for coffee and conversation can promote open communication and a friendly neighborhood environment from which all neighbors can benefit
I'm Buying or Selling a House. How do I get the closing documents I need?
This information is only available through HomeWise. Hill Country Homeowners has partnered with HomeWise to offer a more effective process for ordering and delivering resale disclosures, statement of accounts and other closing documents. Sign up is easy and you can start utilizing the system immediately. You can find more information on which documents are available and how to order the documents on our REQUESTS page.
Proxy: Let Your Voice Be Heard
We’ve got an election coming up, and even if you’re unable to attend the membership meeting and election, you can still vote by proxy.
A proxy is the written authorization that allows one person to appoint another (the proxy holder) to vote on his or her
behalf. State law and the association’s governing documents specify that the association can use proxy voting.
Why would you use a proxy? Maybe you’re traveling during the election or have other obligations that prevent you from attending the meeting, but you still want your voice to be heard.
If you’re interested in using a proxy, the manager or a board member for a proxy form. Cite the name and address of the individual you’re appointing to cast your vote. Then list your name, address and telephone number, and sign and date the form.
The association can only accept one proxy form per person, so be sure to fill out your form accurately. By only accepting one official form, the association doesn’t need to check each proxy to determine if it's legally sufficient. It also eliminates any potential problems if the vote is close.
Just be aware that by assigning your proxy to another person, you’ve authorized the proxy holder to vote for you as he or she sees fit. The proxy holder is responsible for voting or abstaining from a vote.
Essentially, a proxy is an act of trust—the proxy giver must trust the judgment of the proxy holder. The proxy giver may think the proxy holder will vote for a certain candidate or issue, but the proxy holder isn’t legally bound by that assumption unless it’s written on the proxy form.
Renters: Welcome to the Neighborhood
If you rent a home in our community, you’re part of our community association, and we welcome you. We’d like to meet you at our community events, meetings, and social gatherings.
Sometimes we can’t reach you to announce a party or meeting, especially if you’re leasing from an out-of-state owner or a corporation. If this is you, please let our manager or a board member know your name, address, and phone—and we’ll include you on all our mailing lists.
In case your landlord hasn’t passed along this information, here are a few tips to make living in our community enjoyable and stress free:
- All residents—owners and renters—must comply with association rules and regulations. They’re reasonable rules protect property values, preserve the nature of our community, and make more life enjoyable for everyone. If you need a copy of our rules, please contact the manager or a board member. The association has the legal authority to enforce all rules, which we do—equitably and consistently. We don’t like to take action against those who may not have received this important information, but it’s our obligation to do so.
- Renters are entitled to all the privileges of association membership except voting. We can’t extend those privileges to you if we don’t know who you are. Contact our manager or a board member and let us know how to reach you. That gives you the advantage of knowing what’s going on in the community.
- You don’t have to own your home to be interested in your community. If you’d like to volunteer for a committee or other type of service to the association, we can’t wait to meet you. Responsible, service-minded residents are the backbone of our association regardless of their ownership status.
- If your lease is about up, and you’re moving away, we’re sorry to see you go; but, please notify the manager or tell a board member.
So, welcome to our community. We want you to enjoy your experience here—perhaps enough to become an owner some day.
Role of the Community Association Manager
Your association employs us as your professional community manager, and we think residents should know what the manager has—and has not—been hired to do. The manager has two primary responsibilities: to carry out policies set by the board and to manage the association's daily operations.
Some residents expect the manager to perform certain tasks that just aren’t part of the job. When the manager doesn’t meet those expectations, residents naturally are unhappy. Since we want you to be happy, we’re offering a few clarifications to help you understand what the manager does.
- The manager is trained to deal with conflict, but he or she will not get involved in quarrels you might be having with your neighbor. However, if association rules are being violated, the manager is the right person to call.
- While the manager works closely with the board, he or she is an advisor—not a member of the board. The board ultimately makes the decisions that govern the community.
- Although the manager works for the board, he or she is available to residents. That doesn’t mean the manager will drop everything to take your call. If you need to see the manager, call and arrange a meeting. If a matter is so urgent that you need an immediate response, call the association emergency number or 911.
- The manager is always happy to answer questions, but many routine questions are available online. For routine inquiries, like the date of the next meeting, payment information, please read the newsletter or check the association website.
- The manager is responsible for monitoring contractors’ performance, but not supervising them. Contractors are responsible for supervising their own personnel. If you have a problem with a contractor, notify the manager, who will forward your concerns to the board. The board will decide how to proceed under the terms of the contract.
- The manager inspects the community regularly, but even an experienced manager won’t catch everything. Your help is essential. If you know about a potential maintenance issue, report it to the manager.
- The manager does not set policy. If you disagree with a policy or rule, you’ll get better results sending a letter or e-mail to the board than arguing with the manager.
- The manager has a broad range of expertise, but he or she is not a consultant to the residents. Neither is he or she an engineer, architect, attorney or accountant. The manager may offer opinions, but don’t expect technical advice in areas where he or she is not qualified.
- Although the manager is a great resource to the association, he or she is not available 24 hours a day—except for emergencies. Getting locked out of your home may be an emergency to you, but it isn’t an association emergency. An association emergency is defined as a threat to life or property.
We are here to help keep your community looking great and your property values high. Please let us know if you have any specific questions on our services. Additional details are located on our services page.
Solving Neighbor Disputes With Mediation
Can't decide who will pay for the fence? Property damaged by the neighbors? Bruised by a dispute with your neighbor? The occasional conflict is a natural byproduct of living very close to one another. It’s possible to get your disagreement resolved before it escalates and certainly before you end up in court. You should consider mediation—a process that can save you money and aggravation and lead to more peaceful community environment.
In mediation, a neutral third party meets with you and your neighbor, often in an informal setting, to keep everyone focused on solving the problem. Mediation works particularly well by managing expectations; and, generally, the dispute is resolved within a day.
For example, let’s say you’re battling your neighbor about noise. She works until 2 a.m. and infuriates you by making noise in the wee hours of the morning. Through mediation, each of you can talk, listen and learn about each other. She agrees to be respectful when she gets home; and you can call when there is a problem.
A mediators’ first task is to understand how and why the conflict escalated. He or she is trained to search through highly charged responses to understand the crux of the problem. Mediation is about compromise. Be willing to learn and hear. Be open-minded. Mediation tends to fail when people can't get beyond their emotions.
If you go to court, one of you will win and one will lose. If you mediate your differences, both of you will find consensus-based, creative solutions to your problems. And that allows for more harmony in the community.
Welcome First Time Home Buyers
Few events in life are more exciting than buying your first home. We’re glad you’ve chosen us! You’re now a member of our community association. We’re proud of our association and trust it will contribute to the quality of your experience in our community. Here are a few tips and bits of information to help you make the most of community association living.
Your Own Space
There’s one important difference between renting and owning a home that you need to keep in mind. Unlike renting, your unit and its upkeep belong entirely to you. You’re responsible for all maintenance for any part of your home that is used only by you or your family. So, when the faucet leaks, the first person to call is your favorite plumber, not the association manager.
Common Elements and Assessments
The community has a number of common areas and services—like the grounds and the maintenance to keep them attractive and enjoyable. We share these areas and their expenses when we pay our assessments.
Because many residents share the common areas, it’s necessary to have a few basic rules so everyone can enjoy the community. If you don’t have a copy of the community rules, please look at your communities page. Rules for each association are located there.
When you bought your new home, you became a member of our community association. Membership entitles you to attend and observe board meetings and vote in board elections. You may even want to consider running for a board seat yourself. Our community thrives because residents volunteer for committee assignments and eagerly stand for board elections. Get involved—we need you.
Please contact us for more information or if you have questions about the association
What is a Community Association?
Some residents think homeowners and condominium associations (generally called community associations) exist just to tell them what to do—or not do. Actually, the association is more like a housing management or service-delivery organization that provides three types of services to all residents---owners and renters alike.
- Community services- these can include securing trash collection, publishing newsletters, orienting new owners, holding community-wide information meetings, and scheduling recreational and social functions.
- Governance services- these can include ensuring that residents are complying with the association’s governing documents, that the association is adhering to local, state, and federal statutes (like fair housing laws), enforcing community rules and policies, administering design review policies, and recruiting new volunteer leaders.
- Business services - these can include operating the common property efficiently, bidding maintenance work competitively, investing reserve funds wisely, developing long-range plans, and equitably and efficiently collecting assessments.
Providing these services requires good management (whether carried out by a professional manager or a self-managing board of home owners), strong planning and organization, and carefully monitoring the association’s affairs. It isn’t easy, but by fairly and effectively delivering these services, community associations protect and enhance the value of individual homes and lenders’ interests in those homes.