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You're a member of a Mission Viejo HOA: What does that mean?

We mentioned homeowners associations in our immediately preceding blog post, noting in our April 27 entry that HOAs oversee many planned residential communities "and administer relevant rules and regulations."

If you're a member of an HOA by virtue of your property ownership in a planned community, duly consider yourself as part of a well-established and growing group. According to one measuring yardstick, about one in every five Americans across the country lives in a community that is governed by an HOA or similar group.

How homeowners perceive their HOAs is entirely a personal matter. Many property owners in some locales view their governing bodies in strongly positive fashion, especially if they are well run, keep problems and issues that bother most homeowners to a minimum, fairly enforce so-called "CC&Rs" (covenants, conditions and restrictions) and treat all property owners with due respect.

Conversely, not all HOAs are uniformly held in such high regard, especially when some board members pursue individual agendas, interpreting and seeking to enforce CC&Rs in a manner that is arbitrary and that suppresses the rights of select homeowners.

A central point noted in an online overview discussing the HOA entity and its purpose is that an individual buying property in a housing development with an HOA as a governing body automatically becomes an HOA member.

That means that a buyer is both granted all the rights and privileges that come with membership and simultaneously encumbered by all the obligations that are incumbent upon other homeowners.

And that fact/reality certainly underscores the importance for any would-be purchaser to obtain and closely read all contracts and governing documents related to a purchase prior to any property closing.

A proven real estate attorney who advocates routinely on behalf of property owners on homeowners association-related matters can help a client fully understand all important aspects relating to a purchase decision, as well as provide diligent and knowledgeable legal representation in any dispute that arises with an HOA.

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