Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Homeowners Association?

A Homeowners Association is a planned community consisting of Homeowners who collectively form an Association.  The Homeowners share the costs of the Association as well as the benefits of increased property values.  The proper name of a planned community is Common Interest Development (CID).  Other familiar names include Condo Owners Association, Property Owners Association, Townhouse Owners Association, etc.

What are the Governing Documents?

The governing documents are the documents that govern the operation of the Association. Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, Articles of Incorporation and Plot (Condominium) Plan are among the main group of Governing Documents. Each document has a different function and alterations to each are handled differently. The governing documents provide the main authority for Association Policies, Directives, Limits of authority, rights and restrictions of Members, Etc.

What section of the Civil Code governs Homeowners Associations?

Section 4000 of the California Civil Code “Davis-Stirling Act” governs Homeowners Associations in California. Follow this link if you would like to read the Davis-Stirling Act.

What is the Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors is the governing body of the Homeowners Association who sit on committee to make decisions on behalf of the Association as well as enforce Association Policy. Board Members make decisions related to business issues, architectural issues, disciplinary issues, Etc.  They are volunteer homeowners of the Association who are elected by the membership.

How are the Board of Directors Elected?

The members of the Association elect Board Members annually. Terms (length of time a board member serves) may vary. Consult the Bylaws for specific information regarding elections and duties of officers. Elections for open positions on the Board of Directors usually happen at the annual meeting.  Nominations forms are sent to all the owners informing them of the vacancy.  Each member has the opportunity to run for the open position.  Once the nominations have been returned each member will receive a secret ballot with the names and sometimes brief statement of the nominees as well as instruction on how to fill out the ballot and where to return it.  At the annual election meeting the ballots will be counted and the new director(s) will accept their position. 

Can the Board of Directors create new rules

The Board of Directors has the ability to create rules that govern the Association as long as those rules do not conflict with Civil Code or the Governing Documents. A majority vote of the Board is all that is needed to create a binding/enforceable Rule. Civil Code states that members be mailed a copy of the rule 30 days prior to the Rule being officially initiated. All Rules should be kept together as one set for annual distribution to the membership or when they are requested. 

What is a Board Meeting?

A Board Meeting is a meeting where the Board of Directors can discuss and decide association business, set policy, listen to committee and manager reports as well as delegate tasks to the committees and the HOA Manager.  Board meetings are open meetings, which means that any member in good standing can attend and listen to the meeting. 

How do I contact the Board of Directors?

If your association has hired a HOA Management Company the best way to contact your board is through the HOA Manager.  Communication between the Board of Directors and members should be written either on paper or by email.  If you have concerns you think should be addressed at the next Board Meeting you should submit them in writing at least two weeks prior to the meeting so that it can be included in the agenda.  Another way to contact the Board of Directors is at the next Board Meeting.  There should be an open forum section of the meeting either at the beginning or end of the meeting where you can address the Board of Directors.

Can I serve on the Board of Directors?

Every member of the Association, in good standing, is afforded the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors.  If you are not elected to the board during the election you may also serve your association as a volunteer on a committee if one is available.  Elections occur annually so you have many opportunities to run and be elected.   

What is HOA (Portfolio) Management?

HOA (portfolio) management is a business profession that provides an array of administrative, accounting and consulting services to the Board of Directors. Board Members are volunteers.  Sometimes this volunteer position can be time consuming. A management company can provide day-to-day and specialized services, which would allow the Board of Directors to focus on proper decision-making and governing efforts. A good manager will allow the Board to make well informed, cost effective and timely decisions.

What is the HOA Managers Role?

The HOA Manager is the person who works directly with the Board of Directors to carry out the directives of the board.  This may include gathering information, obtaining proposals, association mailings, collecting assessments, accounting and Bookkeeping, tracking violations, coordinating vendors and a myriad of other action items.  A HOA Manager may also act as an intermediary between the Associations Members and the Board of Directors.  The HOA manager does not make decisions for or on behalf of the Board of Directors nor can the HOA manager provide authorization for or on behalf of the Board of Directors.   

What is the HOA Management Companies Role?

The role of the HOA Management Company is to provide service and support to the Board of Directors and the HOA Manager.  Managing Homeowners Associations is often a group effort with several persons performing specific or collective tasks.  This allows the Board of Directors and Manager with the ability to delegate multiple tasks to the Management Company who can perform them quickly and accurately while freeing up time for the Board of Directors and Manager to focus on more important issues.  A seasoned Management Company will also make sure the Association is current with city, county, state and health requirements such as Bi annual filing with Secretary of State, Backflow Tests, Pool Inspections, Tax Filings, Audits, etc.  A great Management Company will help the Board of Directors govern their association more efficiently and effectively.  

How is the Monthly AssessmentDetermined?

The Board of Directors determines assessments either by themselves or through a budget or finance committee appointed by the Board of Directors.  This committee would be made up of other volunteer members of the Association.  The annual budget is created by determining the actual and projected shared costs of the Association.  These costs include trash disposal, insurance for the common areas, landscaping, Water and Sewer, Reserve contribution, Etc.  Each unit is then assigned an equitable portion of the annual assessment, which is either split equally, variably or a combination of the two depending on your governing documents. 

When is the Monthly AssessmentDue?

Normally the Monthly Assessment is due on the 1st of each month and not considered late until the 15th of each month unless your Governing Documents are more lenient.  Please refer to your Governing Documents and/or your Associations Collection Policy to determine the late date and late fee.  The Collection Policy is delivered annual as part of the Associations Annual Disclosure packet.  Please note some Associations are required to pay their assessments annually or semi-annually.

What happens if I do not pay the Monthly Assessment?

Each and every member of a homeowners association has an annual obligation to pay a share of the Association’s expenses, commonly referred to as assessments per their associations governing documents and collection policy. If you do not pay your assessments on time the association may not be able to pay for services such as utilities, vendors or contribute to reserves.  The association has the right to assign late fees to members who do not pay their assessments on time as well as place liens and possibly foreclose on properties whose assessments are unpaid.  

Who do I make my Monthly Assessment payable to?

Please make your assessment payable to your Association (Example – Happy Trails Homeowners Association.)  Please also remember to include your address and Account number on your check so that your assessment will be credited properly. 

How can I pay my Monthly Assessment?

There are several ways to pay your monthly assessment.

  1. Mail it to our office 11717 Bernardo Plaza Ct # 220 San Diego, CA 92128. 
  1. If you Association uses ACH (Automated Clearing House) you may have your monthly assessment debited from your checking account automatically each month.
  1. If you prefer not to have your assessment automatically debited you may set up your monthly payment as a bill pay with your bank.  On the day you determine to pay your assessment your bank will cut a check from your account and send it to the address you specify.
  1. You may also click on the Make A Payment option on our Menu to make a payment online.

What is a Reserve Study?

A Reserve study is a report by which the Board of Directors can determine the amount of savings needed to be able to maintain and or replace the Associations capital components over a period of time as well as project when they may need maintenance or replacement.   The capital components include any shared common area items that the membership as a whole is responsible to maintain or replace.  This could be common water heaters, common roofing, exterior paint, parking lot asphalt, elevators, pools, etc.  The reserve study examines the useful life of each component as well as the projected replacement cost of those components and compares those numbers against how much your association is contributing to reserves to come up with a percentage funded.  The reserve study also suggests how much funding needs to be contributed on an annual basis to keep out of the negative.   From this report you should be able to determine the proper funding amounts to keep your association from having to levy special assessments or to radically raise dues to account for a financial short fall. The consequence for not keeping up with your reserve study and reserve funding could be inability to pay for a new roof or water heater when needed.  Currently, Civil Code does not force Homeowners Associations to fund the Reserves a certain amount or maintain a certain percentage, however, a new law that started July 1, 2005 requires the Board of Directors to report to members, annually, certain criteria pertaining to overall health of the reserve. This of course would have to be disclosed (by members to prospective purchasers) with sales of individual units.

What is the Association Reserves?

The Associations Reserve refers to the amount of savings the Association has set aside for the purpose of maintaining or replacing the capital components such as common water heaters, common roofing, exterior paint, parking lot asphalt, elevators, pools, etc.  The Board of Directors determines the amount that the association is contributing to reserves on a monthly and annual basis.  The association cannot use this money except for the maintaining and replacement of the capital components of the Association.

How can I order a copy of the Governing Documents?

If you are missing any or all of your governing documents you may order a replacement by calling or emailing your HOA manager.  Contact us if you would like to order a copy of your associations Governing Documents online. 

What is an Architectural Request?

An Architectural Request is a request by a Homeowner to modify, change or improve the exterior and, in some cases, the interior of the unit.  This could be installing new exterior light fixtures, painting, installing windows, etc.  These types of changes require prior written approval from the Board of Directors.  If you do not follow your association’s architectural guidelines and procedures you may incur fines and possibly the removal of your improvement. If you need an Architectural Request Form please call or email your HOA Manager.  Contact us if you would like to request an Architectural Request Form online.

How do I submit a Maintenance Request?

All maintenance requests must be submitted to the Board of Directors for approval.  If you notice something broken or in need of attention such as lights that don’t work, broken sprinklers, etc please do not hesitate to email or call your HOA Manager.  Contact us to submit a request or concern online.

Who do I contact for Emergencies?

If you are experiencing a fire, burglary, etc call 911 immediately.  If you are experiencing or notice an after hour emergency due to flooding, etc you may call our after hours emergency service number at 858-569-2832.  If you are experiencing an emergency during normal working hours 9am-5pm please call our office directly 858-485-9811.

How do I Update my Contact Info/Mailing Address?

It is important that you keep your contact information updated with your association.  If you have moved or changed phone numbers please contact your HOA Manager for an Information Form or call our office at 858-485-9811.  

How do I order a Condo Cert or Escrow paperworkfor refinancing or selling?

Your lender requests a Condo Cert when you are refinancing your mortgage.  If you are buying or selling a property your escrow company will request an Escrow Demand, which may include a copy of the Governing Documents, Annual Disclosures, Minutes, Reserve Study, Insurance, Etc.  For instructions on how to have your Condo Cert completed or how to request an Escrow Demand for your sale or purchase please send an email to

What kinds of job opportunities exist in the Common Interest Development Industry?

There are numerous job opportunities in the Common Interest Development Industry.  Besides HOA Manager other fields include Accounting and Bookkeeping, Insurance, HOA Law, Engineers, Contractors, Foreclosures, Collections, Plumbers, Landscaping, Property Management Software, Website Designers, and many others.  

CID management is a very specialized form of property management with several colleges now offering this form of property management as a major.  Jobs in the CID management field are becoming more and more available and attractive all the time. Certified and experienced managers can make $30,000 – $60,000 + per year. Several certifications are available through professional organizations. The Community Associations Institute (CAI) offers a certificate for Certified Manager of Community Association (CMCA) and Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). The California Association of Community Managers offers California Certified Association Manager (CCAM). The Institute of Real Estate Management offers the Certified Property Manager (CPM).