Home Owners Associations
General HOA Questions
What is a Homeowner Association?
The Association is a legal corporation organized and incorporated under the laws of your state. By purchasing a home within your community Association, you automatically become a member of the Association and will remain so for as long as you own your home. Membership in the Association is mandatory and automatic for all owners. The deed to each lot and/or parcel specifically designates that the property owner will comply with the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R’s) of the Association. You should have received a copy of the documents at the time your home purchase was closed by the title company. As a property owner in a community association, you will be required to pay assessments, abide by the community’s rules and restrictions, and maintain those areas of your home for which you are responsible.
What are open records for members?
Records and reports of the Association are available to the members based upon laws established under your state. For specific information on what is available to you as a member, please contact the Management Company.
What empowerment does the membership have?
Pursuant to the Bylaws: (1) Election of the Board of Directors, (2) Removal of a member of the Board of Directors, (3) Call for a special meeting of the members pursuant to the bylaws.
Pursuant to the CC&R’s: (1) Voting on increasing the maximum annual assessment, if over a set amount, (2) Voting on amendment to Articles, Bylaws, and CC&R’s.
Can I pay my dues electronically or by credit/debit card?
Not at this time, but there is an alternative to mailing or dropping off your check. If your bank offers online banking, you can schedule a payment. Your bank will issue a check and mail it to us. Please note that these checks are not usually printed locally and can take a few days to arrive. The date on your statement is the date that the bank issued the check. This is not the date that we received your payment. Consult your bank for their rules regarding online banking.
Reminder: Payments are due on the 1st of every month. Your payments will be considered late if they are not received by the 10th.
Board of Directors
What is the purpose of a Board of Directors and what is their role?
Your Association is a non-profit corporation in the State of Texas. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders of the corporation. This includes timely collection of Assessments and payments made for services provided to the Association. All affairs of your Association are governed by the Board of Directors. If you are living in an Association that is still being developed, the members of the Board may be appointed by the developer of your community until control of the Association transitions to you, the homeowners.
Who makes up the Board of Directors?
The Directors are owners, like you, who are elected by the membership.
What empowerment does the Board of Directors have?
Pursuant to the Bylaws: (includes, but is not limited to) (1) Fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors, (2) Establish rules and regulations for the Association, (3) Set the Annual Assessment rate, (4) Contract for services of the Association (management, landscape, maintenance, etc.), (5) Use and disburse association funds, (6) Establish committees, (7) Enforce the CC&R’s, (8) Elect officers for the Association, (9) Prepare the annual budget, (10) Insure the Association, (11) Invest excess funds controlled by the Association.
Pursuant to the CC&R’s: (1) Establish an architectural review committee, (2) Collect assessments, (3) Establish the standard of care for the maintenance of the common areas, (4) Interpretation of the wording in all governing documents.
How is the Board of Directors elected? What is the election process?
he members of the Association vote to elect the Board of Directors (unless the Association is still under declarant control). Each Association has specific bylaws outlining the process for board elections. The Board elections take place on an annual basis either prior to (in the case of absentee ballots) or at the annual meeting of the members (proxies and ballots). Vacant positions are filled during your Annual Meeting. Directors can hold more than one position when their position consists of two roles (i.e. Secretary/Treasurer). During the Annual meeting, a vote via a secret ballot is taken for the nominees who are running for a position on the Board. Those voting must be in good standing with the Association to have their vote count. All votes will be tallied and the results will be announced.
Can anyone run for the Board? Who can be elected?
Anyone in good standing with the Association is eligible to run for the Board of Directors. Individuals who volunteer their time to serve on a committee or the Board of Directors are people who are well informed about the legal documents for their subdivision. These positions are strictly voluntary and these individuals are compensated only by the fruits of their labors.
I don’t want to run for the Board, but would like to assist in a committee. What are the requirements?
The Board shall appoint committees as deemed appropriate to carry out its purpose, and delegate to these committees such powers and duties required to execute and enforce the committee’s responsibilities. Committee members shall perform such functions as directed by the Covenants and shall advise the Board on all matters pertaining to their committee.
What is a proxy and what is its purpose?
In this context, a proxy is someone authorized to represent someone else at a meeting. Naming a proxy when you cannot attend a meeting helps to establish a quorum so that voting and other business can be conducted during the meeting.
If I’m not attending a meeting, is it mandatory that I complete a proxy?
If you do not plan on attending a meeting, a proxy form must be completed and signed by you, the homeowner, naming your proxy. The proxy form must be presented prior to the opening of the meeting and the proxy must be present at that meeting. Acceptable proxies include (but are not limited to): your neighbor, the Secretary of the Board, or the Board themselves. If you are in good standing with the Association, it is highly recommended that you exercise your right as a homeowner to vote by proxy.
What are Association committees?
The primary function of a committee is to render a recommendation to the Board of Directors on the subject matter of their committee. This recommendation, once delivered to the Board, is then approved or rejected. In general, each Association will have mandatory committees (i.e. architectural review committee and/or nominating committee). An Association may also have standing committees (i.e. finance, landscape, and newsletter). There may also be ad-hoc committees, temporarily created for specific one-time items (i.e. selection of a refuse provider). Members of committees are appointed and removed by the Board of Directors.
How do I communicate with my Community Manager or Board of Directors?
Your Board of Directors can only be reached through your Community Manager. You can call your Community Manager at (979) 696-4464 during the hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Alternatively, you can email your Community Manager at their individual email address. Lastly, you can send your request, issue, or concern in writing to 201 Wellborn Road, College Station, TX 77840. Equity Real Estate Services provides for their clients a group of cross-trained individuals in our Customer Service Department who are available to help in a variety of situations.
can’t I get the addresses and phone numbers of my Board of Directors? Don’t they work for me?
Your Board of Directors makes decisions for your Association. Serving on the Board is completely voluntary and the Directors do not receive financial compensation for the service they provide. Equity Real Estate Services represents the Board and your Association and serves as a contact for all communications addressed to the Board. Legally, we are not at liberty to release any personal information about any homeowner, including your Board of Directors.
Does each family member get one vote?
Homeowners/lot owners usually have one vote for every property/lot owned.
Budgets and Assessments
Do we have a budget?
Yes. All owners are mailed copies of the budget prior to the new year. Additional copies are available through Equity Real Estate. The budget is established by the Board, with the assistance of the Management Company.
How can I find out how my Association dues are being utilized?
Your Association has an Annual meeting where the Board of Directors discusses the Association’s finances with the homeowners. Attending this meeting helps each homeowner understand the workings of a Homeowner Association. This information can also be provided by your Community Manager.
What are Assessments and how are they spent?
In order for the Board to accomplish the many tasks for which it is responsible, the Association needs operating funds for daily maintenance, repairs, administration, and adequate reserve funds for major repairs or replacements of capital items. As a member of the Association, you are required to pay a share of the costs.
Are my Assessments fixed or can they be raised?
The Annual Assessment may be adjusted by a majority vote of the Board of Directors but shall not be increased by more than a percentage, dependent on your governing documents. Anything above that percentage would have to be voted on by the homeowners, by proxy or in person.
What is a Special Assessment?
In addition to your Assessment, the Board may levy, in any assessment year, a Special Assessment on improved lots, only applicable to that year, only for the purpose of defraying, in whole or in part the cost of any construction, reconstruction, repair or replacement of a Capital Improvement on or which is a part of the Common Facilities, provided that any such assessment shall have the consent via a vote of the members at large.
Is there a difference between Homeowner Assessments, Homeowner Dues, and Homeowner Fees?
Each of these terms refer to the same thing: your mandatory monthly, quarterly, or annual assessments (whichever pertain to your subdivision).
When I call to speak to my Community Manager, he or she is not always available. Why is this?
Your Community Manager performs many tasks for your Association which may require them to be away from the office. These tasks include weekly inspections, meeting with vendors, meeting with Board members, and visiting with homeowners. There are also times with a Community Manager is unavailable because they are already on the phone conducting business with other homeowners, vendors, or Board members.
How does Equity Real Estate, the Management Company, handle issues and complaints?
Complaints should be submitted in writing to Equity Real Estate Services, 201 Wellborn Road, College Station, TX, 77840. Complaints should state the problem, identify the offending homeowner, and the date(s) of the offense(s). Just as in any court of law, the offender has the right to know who is complaining and what he or she is being accused of. He or she is also entitled to a hearing before the Board. Please be sure of your facts before filing a complaint.
I have lost the copy of the Association documents I received at my closing. How do I obtain another copy?
Contact Equity Real Estate. If your Association has a website, you can view a copy of the documents.
I have lost my Association dues statement or coupon book. Where do I send my payment?
Dues coupons may be downloaded from your community’s website (if applicable). Payment should be sent to Equity Real Estate. Also, please remember to put your unit number and HOA on your check before mailing.
Who do I contact if I want to update my personal or gate information?
Visit Equity Real Estate’s website http://www.equitybcs.com/. Click on HOA and navigate to your particular community association website.
I would like to start external projects on my home (i.e. sprinklers, building a shed). Are there any requirements or guidelines?
Any exterior modifications or additions to your home or any structural changes must have prior written approval from your Architectural Control Committee. You must fill out a Request for Modifications form and submit it to Equity Real Estate. Contact us for information, applications, and further details. This approval process may take up to thirty days. Do not schedule any construction work or purchase any equipment until written approval has been received.
Are the rules in place to settle homeowner disputes?
No. Homeowner disputes should be settled between the parties involved, unless they are causing a common area problem or direct violation. Your Board will not referee homeowner disputes. Personality clashes, pet problems, and other neighborhood issues are a common occurrence in any community. Often the problems can be resolved through open and respectful communication between the parties involved.
What is deemed a Common Area Facility?
Common Area Facility refers to all property leased, owned, or maintained by the Association. This property is for the sole use and benefit of the members of your Association. Common Area Facility may include (but is not limited to): private streets and alleys, signs, fountains, statuary, swimming pools and adjacent buildings, recreation sites with associated furnishing, tennis courts and associated equipment, landscaping with or without sprinkler systems, wall, bridges, safety lanes, green belts with or without trails, parking lots, median islands in cul-de-sac streets, and centralized mailboxes which may be existing or built in the future.
When selling my home, who at my Management Company do I need to contact?
Equity Real Estate provides our customers a Sales Department with individuals whose main objective is to help you and your buyer complete your transaction in a timely manner.