Associations —Who Benefits?

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By: Karen Laurence Special to the Delray and Boca Newspapers

More than 68 million Americans live in a community with an association, according to the Community Associations Institute, meaning 1 out of  5 of it’s members is required to obey the rules and regulations of a condo, homeowner, or cooperative association.

Over the last 3 decades, most of the communities in South East Florida have either an HOA (Home Owner’s Association), COA(Condo Owners Association) or a Cooperative with an association. What is their purpose and how does one derive benefit from them? Is it only for the homeowner?

It seems as if an Association is offered in all new and large developments as well as being there in the established and older mega developments such as Century Villages, Kings Point, High Point, and many others. It is a mandatory fee to be paid if you live in the community. In some ways, knowing that the pool services and the outside lawn maintenance, sometimes extending to the roof and outside painting, maintenance is all taken care of, is a blessing. The 55 plus community residents are happy to pay as they do not want to be responsible for that work  themselves or have the bother of hiring an outside service. This is why people retire to Florida and other states such as North Carolina. There is a need to have time for more leisure and their interests instead of mowing the lawn. For those reasons, the HOA or COA is a great feature and benefit. Something to remember is there are taxes, insurance, electricity, and water on top of the maintenance.

The Associations are providing benefits both to developers and to local governments. When the land is developed, there must be the infrastructure of sewers, electricity, and cable and phone lines. Roads have to be built which is done by the developers and maintained by the association, as well as landscaping maintenance, garbage pick-up and replacement of trees and shrubs. Bus services are sometimes provided as well as security. Whatever costs can be absorbed by the association is a bonus for both developers and local governments. The developers incorporate most all of their costs into the price of the home and the maintenance costs before they turn it over to the residences.  The local governments do not have to raise the taxes. As a result, both entities, developers and governments, and other residents of South East Florida, reap a reward.

Associations have a benefit not only to their own communities, they add a value for the local residents who also enjoy some of the benefits and features. Though the pools and clubhouses are private, as anything within the development is, there are other things enjoyed by the general public making Associations seem worthwhile. When either a park is built with a playground or a lake donated to the County, anyone in the public is allowed to use it for its intended purpose. Bear in mind that not every lake nor every playground is publicly accessible. Many developers donate part of the land of the development for public use as a sweetening affect to push through a new development.

Karen Laurence is a sales associate with Keller Williams. She is a Technical Real Estate Instructor, Real Estate Agent and Certified Luxury Agent. 516-524-3953.