A homeowners' association is a private, nonprofit, legally established organization, whose membership consists of the homeowners or dwelling unit owners residing in a particular development, subdivision, condominium, or PUD. Generally, it operates pursuant to the provisions of a recorded declaration of restrictions or protective covenants.
The primary purpose of a homeowners' association is to maintain facilities and provide services for the common enjoyment of the owners-residents of the development.
A homeowners' association may be of an automatic or a nonautomatic type. In an automatic homeowners' association, each purchaser of a lot in the development automatically becomes a member of the association upon purchase, and is automatically subject to a charge for a proportionate share of the expenses of the association. Each owner, as a member of the association, is entitled to vote at the association meetings, has the right to use and enjoy the common areas and facilities in the development, and has the obligation to share in the cost of the operations. Assessments made by the association against its members, for the purposes of defraying operational costs, are legally collectible property assessments and failure to pay any association assessment due is recordable as a lien against the individual owner.
Title Insurance Considerations Regarding Homeowners' Associations
Finding a homeowners' association declaration of record makes it necessary:
- To show all the pertinent recorded documents as exceptions.
- To except specifically to the right of the association to assess liens or charges (if the right exists).
- To except any recorded certificate of nonpayment of assessments.
- To require proof that, as of the date of the policy, there are no due and unpaid assessments.
- The determination, in connection with the issuance of a comprehensive, PUD, or other similar endorsement, of the nonpriority (if that is the case) of the charge or assessment of the homeowners' association in relation to the lien of the insured mortgage.