Frequently Asked Questions
About Homeowners Associations in General
Q: What is a Homeowners Association?
It is a non-profit corporation registered with the State and managed by a duly elected Board of Directors. Its purpose is to maintain all common areas and to govern the community in accordance with the provision of the legal documents: CC&Rs, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation. The corporation is financially supported by all members of the homeowners association. Membership is both automatic and mandatory.
Q: What does the Association do?
The Association is a non-profit corporation managed by a Board of Directors elected by the owners. The Board is responsible for the management of the Association's funds, the enforcement of the deed restrictions, and the maintenance of common area property. A management company is contracted by the Board of Directors to provide such services as: Collection of assessments, covenant enforcement, supervision of subcontractors, obtaining bids for subcontracted services, providing financial statements and collection reports, as well as a general clearing house for problem solving, communications with homeowners and the Board of Directors and to serve in an advisor capacity. The management company reports directly to the Board and all decisions are made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
Q: What is the "common area"?
It is the land for the use and enjoyment of the members of the Association. This includes facilities like pools and playgrounds in single family communities and hallways, exercise facilities and building structures in condominium communities.
Q: What is a "Master Association"?
"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.
Questions about Board of Directors:
Q: Is Kuester the Board of Directors?
No. Each HOA has its own Board of Directors formed from members of the association (i.e. homeowners) who were elected to represent the association. The Board makes the decisions about the HOA and directs Kuester to carry out the decisions. Kuester acts as the administrator for the association- handling paperwork, collecting assessments, hiring contractors, maintaining records, etc. We also provide expertise based on our extensive knowledge and experience with HOAs and their common issues. Kuester enhances the Board's ability to govern the association by implementing their decisions. Otherwise, being on the Board might become a full-time job, which would be difficult because being on the Board is a volunteer job.
Q: What is the Board of Directors?
The Homeowner's Association again is a corporation and therefore a governing body that is required to oversee its business. The Board of Directors is elected by the homeowners, or as otherwise specified in the bylaws. The limitations and restrictions of the powers of the Board of Directors is outlined in the Association governing documents.
About Assessments and Budgets
Q: Who decides how my assessments are being spent?
The Board of Directors, under the authorization of the bylaws and covenants.
Q: Why do I have to pay Association Fees?
All owners are required to pay Association Fees by the governing documents of their Association. The fees may be due annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly. They fund the operation and maintenance of the common property and are used to provide services for the benefit of all owners.
Q: What do the Association Fees cover?
Association Fees pay for common area landscape maintenance, repair and maintenance of pools, playgrounds and equipment, and they provide for improvements desired by the Association, and for services to the owners.
Q: How do I pay the Association Fees?
Owners may elect to pay their Association Fees via check, credit card, echeck or have the amount withdrawn from their bank account. Checks must be accompanied by the "assessment coupon" and should be mailed directly to the bank shown on the coupon. (The bank cannot accept payments without the coupons.) Owners may also apply to have their payments withdrawn automatically from their bank accounts. This eliminates the inconvenience of checks, coupons or timeliness of payment.
Q: To whom do I make my check payable?
Your check should be made payable to your Association (e.g.; "ABC Homeowners Association" or "XYZ Condominium Association").
About Kuester Companies, Your Management Company / Agent
Q: What is a "managing agent" or Association Management Company?
The 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. Kuester Management Group’s sole business is serving Associations as Managing Agent.
Q: What is the managing agent's authority?
The managing agent has no authority except as conferred by the Board of Directors. The managing agent does not make decisions; it implements the decisions of the Board.
Q: What don't we do?
We do not manage individual rental units in a community.
About Community Governing Documents
Q: What are the Governing Documents?
The "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.
Q: What are the CC&RS?
The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are the governing legal documents that set up the guidelines for the operation of the planned community as a non-profit corporation. The CC&Rs were recorded by the County recorder's office of the County in which the property is located and are included in the title to your property. Failure to abide by the CC&Rs may result in a fine to a homeowner by the Association.
Q: What are the Bylaws?
The Bylaws are the guidelines for the operation of the non-profit corporation. The Bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the Board of Directors, the terms of the Directors, the membership's voting rights, required meetings and notices of meetings, and the principal office of the Association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the Association as a business.
Q: Where can I get a copy of the Governing Documents?
You 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. You can also download a copy by logging into to your Website portal.
Complying with Community Governing Documents and Violation Letters
Q: Why did I receive a violation letter? The HOA is too strict.
Most violation or inspection letters are just to bring an issue to the homeowner's attention. We do weekly drive through inspections of the communities to ensure there are no issues with the common property, any contractors that may be doing work in the common area, and to ensure there are no covenant violations. Where there is an issue, you may get a notice. We understand that often, the grass is tall only because you've been called out of town on an emergency, or that the broken mailbox has already been ordered and will be delivered next week. Please feel free to call us and let us know. In the rare case where a homeowner routinely refuses to adhere to the covenants, further action may be taken, but generally the notices are just to ensure that you know about the issue.
Q: Why do I see violations in my neighborhood? The HOA is too lenient.
Kuester completes drive through inspections on a regular basis as agreed upon with your board of directors. When there is a violation, a notice is sent and a reasonable amount of time is given for the homeowner to bring the issue into compliance. If the issue is not resolved in an appropriate number of days, second, and if necessary, third notices are sent. At this point, the homeowner will be asked to speak to the Board of Directors at a Board meeting regarding the issue. The Board will vote and make a decision regarding how to resolve the issue and Kuester will notify the homeowner and ensure the decision is implemented. If you have questions about a specific problem, please contact your manager.
Q: Aren't the rules and covenants made to settle neighbor disputes?
No. The covenants exist to protect the appearance and value of the neighborhood as a whole. The Board cannot get involved in neighbor vs. neighbor disputes that do not deal with the covenants or where it would not be possible for them to know the facts of the situation with any certainty. We recommend that many of these types of issues (pet complaints, noise, etc.) can be resolved by speaking amicably with your neighbor. If that does not help, there may be more appropriate avenues than the Board or the HOA management company (i.e. animal control, police, etc.).
Q: What is a deed restriction?
It 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.
Q: Why do I need to comply with the deed restrictions?
When 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.
Q: Why do I have to get the Association's permission for home improvement?
This 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.
Q: Are there any pet restrictions?
Most 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.
Making Changes to The Exterior of Your Home and Yard
Q: I want to start an exterior improvement project. What should I do first?
Exterior changes require homeowners to submit a completed architectural application first. Many associations also have printed architectural guidelines. It is helpful to be familiar with these before submitting your application.
Q: Why do exterior changes require prior approval?
Because the covenants require it. The idea behind the restriction is to ensure that the appearance of homes remains in compliance with the protective covenants of your association, toward the goal of protecting and enhancing overall property values.
Q: What types of projects REQUIRE prior approval?
Please review your covenants and/or your architectural guidelines, as each community is different. In general, most exterior projects require approval. A few examples would be if you were:
- Changing the exterior siding, shutter, or door color of your home
- Removing a tree
- Adding a new deck
- Widening your driveway
- Building an addition or sunroom, etc.
Please review your covenants and/or your architectural guidelines, as each community is different. If you are restoring a portion of your property to its original condition, then you do not need to submit an application. A few examples would be if you were:
- Repainting your home the same color
- Replacing windows
- Repairing a deck but not changing the size, shape, color, or material
- Replacing a dead bush with one of the same type and size
Q: How long before construction should I apply?
Please review your covenants and/or your architectural guidelines, as each community is different. Be sure to apply as soon as possible, as most architectural committees have up to 30 days in order to review and respond to your application. Some have 60 or even 90 days- please check your documents or speak with your community service administrator. The application form is located on your Talis HOA website. The application must be complete with all requested drawings and dimensions. Please note that work may not begin until approval has been received.
About Association Insurance / Coverage
Q: What does the Association's insurance cover?
The Association's insurance 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.