Frequently Asked Questions about Associations
•What is a Homeowners Association?
oA Homeowner’s Association is a non-profit corporation registered with the State and managed by a non-paid, volunteer Board of Directors duly elected by the property owners. Its purpose is to maintain the integrity and appearance of all common areas and to govern the community in accordance with the provision of the legal documents: CC&Rs (Declaration), Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation. The corporation is financially supported by all members of the homeowners association. Membership is both automatic and mandatory.
•What is a “Master Association”?
o"Master-planned communities" are often comprised of several distinct homeowners associations. In such cases the Master Association is the "umbrella" organization that provides services that are common to all of the individual Associations, such as contracts for community patrol, trash collection, common landscape maintenance, etc.
•Where do I send my HOA payments into and who do I make them payable to?
oHave your check written out to your association’s name, then send your payment into:
Impact Property Management
9506 4th St NE #101
Lake Stevens, WA. 98258
Please write your property address or lot number in the memo line on your check. This makes processing payments quicker and easier for us.
Please note that Impact Property Management only takes personal checks, cashier’s checks or money orders. We also offer ACH (Automatic Debit) payments set up with your bank. Contact your Managing Agent if you are interested in signing up your account for ACH payments.
•Why do I have to pay Association dues/assessments?
oAll owners are required to pay Association Dues/Assessments by the governing documents of their Association. The assessments may be due annually or monthly. They fund the operation and maintenance of the common property and are used to provide services for the benefit of all owners.
•What do the Association Dues cover?
oAssociation dues generally pay for common area landscape maintenance, common area insurance, repair and maintenance of pools, playgrounds and equipment, and they provide for improvements desired by the association and for services to the owners.
•How is the dues rate established?
oThe dues/assessment rate is based on the budgeted needs of the Association for a fiscal year. The Board of Directors approves the annual budget for each fiscal year, thus establishing the assessment rate for that year. The annual budget for your community is then divided amongst the number of units in your community (or sometimes amongst those in a particular phase of the development). The exact manner in which the allocations are made is typically outlined in the governing documents although in unique instances the board may have the authority to affect the allocation.
•Will my dues ever go up (or down)?
oThis is always a possibility, but it depends on many factors. Depending on the local financial climate, the financial health of the association, the condition of the physical property as well as other factors, the annual budget may be increased or remain flat. The Board of Directors may approve an increased budget, increasing your assessment in order to cover increased costs of operating and maintaining the common area and sufficient reserve funds. Keep in mind that board members are property owners, too, and sometimes reluctant to raise assessments even when they should. The duty of the Board of Directors includes maintain, protect, preserve and enhance the community and common and limited common property.
•What are the Governing Documents?
oThe "Governing Documents" for your association are the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (or Declaration of Condominium) plus any Rules and Regulations, Resolutions or guidelines that have been established by your association.
•Where can I get a copy of the Governing Documents?
oYou received a copy at, or prior to, closing on your home. If you need another set, it is available through your association and/or its managing agent. Your Governing Documents are recorded instruments so they are also available through the County in which your Association is located.
•Are there any pet restrictions in associations?
oMost condominium associations and many single family associations have pet restrictions. Because they can vary widely by community, please review the governing documents for the restrictions pertaining to your particular community. In addition to community restrictions, many counties have strongly enforced leash laws.
•What does the Association’s Insurance Policy cover?
oThe Association's insurance normally includes property and casualty policies for all common area property and equipment. (In condominium associations this includes the entire structure of the building.) It also includes Liability and Directors & Officers policies that cover Directors, Committee Members and volunteers working on behalf of the Association.
•What is a resale certificate?
oThe resale certificate is a disclosure by the Association of the amount of the assessment and whether the Association may foreclose to collect the assessment. It further notifies the buyer whether the seller of the property has (or has not) paid all assessments that are due and whether there are any violations affecting the real property being sold.
•What is the “common area” or “common elements”?
oIt is the land for the use and enjoyment of the members of the Association. This includes facilities like pools, playgrounds, parking lots, and sometimes sidewalks in single family communities and hallways, stairwells, exercise facilities and building structures in condominium communities.
•Why do I have to get permission to make changes to my home?
oThis better ensures that your intended improvement meets your community's standards as set forth in the Governing Documents and avoids the problems that arise from the construction of improvements and the use of colors or styles that conflict with others in your neighborhood. Most Associations have an Architectural Control Committee (ACC) Form that you will need to fill out and submit to the committee. Once the committee has approved your request, you can move forward with your improvements.
•What is a Deed Restriction?
oIt is part of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (or Declaration of Condominium) that you agreed to when you bought your home. Through this document, you agreed to certain standards of maintenance, upkeep and behavior in order to make the community as attractive as possible for yourself and your neighbors, and to maintain or enhance your property values.
•Why do I need to comply with Deed Restrictions?
oWhen you purchase a home in a deed restricted community you automatically agree to comply with the restrictions then in place or that are properly established. This ensures that the integrity of the community is maintained.
•What is a managing agent?
oThe managing agent is a company that is engaged by the Board of Directors. The managing agent attends to the day-to-day operation of the Association and implements the policies and decisions as determined by the Board of Directors.
•What is the managing agent’s authority?
oThe managing agent has no authority except as conferred by the Board of Directors. The managing agent does not make decisions; it advises the Board and implements the decisions of the Board.