What Is a Condominium Association?

Purchasing a condominium comes with its own unique set of qualities than when purchasing other types of homes. Whereas single-family homes are governed by a homeowners association, a condominium development is governed by a COA. What is COA? Simply put, COA means condominium owners association. This COA and its member homeowners work together to maintain the value of the units and shared common elements.

What Is a Condo Association For?

A condo association is responsible for maintaining the common areas and elements of a condo development. That includes managing the association’s finances and hiring vendors to clean, repair, and maintain the community. This enhances the quality of life for the residents and helps keep condo unit values high. A condo association is governed by a set of documents and a board of directors made up of homeowners in the association. They are elected by their neighbors to oversee the business of the community and uphold and enforce the community’s CC&Rs.

Condo association management is not an easy task. Most board members have full-time jobs, so many boards hire a professional property manager or HOA management company to assist. An experienced professional can work alongside the board and takes on many day-to-day responsibilities, such as coordination of maintenance projects, contract negotiation, and dues collection. The board of directors will still make the final decisions on which vendors to hire and whether to increase COA dues, but the division of work allows the COA to achieve success.

By purchasing a condominium within a COA, the owner acknowledges mandatory membership to the association and agrees to abide by the CC&Rs, including paying the regular assessments set forth within them.

Understanding COA Dues and Common Elements

Dues cover all expenses of the association, including maintenance of all common elements. Common elements are the aspects of the community used by all owners and in which they own undivided interest, including elevators, lobbies, sidewalks, common hallways, and pools. The COA may also be responsible for limited common elements, any element that is for the use of one or more but less than all owners. This may include balconies, roofs, and/or siding, as defined in the CC&Rs.

Owners are responsible for their own unit, as a unit is defined in the CC&Rs. For most associations, a unit is defined as the exterior surface of the drywall inward, and the main floor (concrete slab or plywood depending on level) upward, but the CC&Rs should always be consulted to properly determine responsibility. No matter the definition, everything within the expressed boundaries is to be maintained by the owner of the unit. Most COAs also require unit owners to have insurance.

Dues also cover other fees, such as management, landscaping, legal, and accounting. Before the start of each year, the condo association’s board of directors sit down and create an annual budget, setting amounts based on past data and projections. Contacting vendors on estimated charges also allows the board to reach a realistic forecast.

After calculating the expected expenses, along with an amount to set aside for the association’s reserves, the total is divided by the number of units in the development and the frequency of payments. This creates the COA’s regular assessments, the association’s primary source of income.

Effective COA Management With Professional Help

The presence of a condominium association benefits everyone involved. Condo owners enjoy excellent amenities, well-maintained common areas, and a higher quality of life. By working together, homeowners and a condominium association’s board of directors can ensure the community runs smoothly and accomplishes all the goals of the neighborhood.

Condominium association management and HOA management do share similarities. However, someone who has only managed homeowners associations their entire life does not necessarily have the acumen to manage a condo association. Due to the complexities of a condo association and its general common elements, COA management requires a specific set of skills and expertise.

Elite Management Services has years of experience managing both homeowners associations and condominium associations. We provide HOAs and COAs with a variety of management solutions that can make life easier for the board of directors. Our services include accounting, legal assistance, reserve planning, maintenance and violations, and value-added services. We also specialize in training board members, teaching them the best management practices that will allow them to make informed decisions.

Feel free to get in touch with Elite Management Services for unparalleled condo association management. Give us a call at (855) 238-8488 or email us at help@emspm.com for more information. Alternatively, you can also request a proposal online, free of charge.

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