by Stuart Neal
on Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 at 11:41am.
Homeowners Associations (HOA) which are usually set up by the land developer before they are hand off to a board of community homeowners have become a key feature in many upper end neighbourhoods around metro Edmonton. We have found that many of our clients still don’t understand what they are for. Let’s explore the pros and cons:
Your neighbourhood will always look great. HOA’s impose architectural and maintenance standards on everyone. That means that there are rules in place that prevent your neighbor from painting their home an outlandish colour or failing to keep up with maintenance. With respect to general community maintenance the grass in common areas and the entrance will always be nicely kept. In Edmonton, the general care cycle is around 14 days but this is sometimes disrupted by public holidays or adverse weather. Those communities can sometimes look a little scruffy whereas if there was a HOA in place the problem would not exist.
You will enjoy more features than communities that don’t have them for example: parks, fountains & programs for children. The presence of an HOA allows the community to afford certain features that local government would likely not introduce. For example, in Summerside on the south side of Edmonton a lake facility takes centre stage. I understand that there is boating, swimming and I believe fishing in the lake. None of that would be present without the HOA. One of my advisors reports that another community with an HOA puts on programs for children through out the year. For example, Taekwondo.
Pride of ownership. HOA’s promote community accountability. Take a drive through a community without an HOA and them compare it to one without. See the difference?
Prestige. Some people ONLY want to buy in communities with HOA’s so that they can ‘complain’ about the fee to their friends. The reality is that HOA fees around metro Edmonton are quite reasonable. Not usually more than $300 to $400 per year.
Higher property values. Great looking communities feature homes that sell for more money.
Fee. HOA’s come with a fee. As stated before, in metro Edmonton its rarely more than a few hundred dollars a year.
Potentially a Bad Board. The situation where the HOA is poorly managed due to disinterested members or perhaps one or two aggressive members on a ‘power trip’ sometimes occurs and frankly this is not different to a poor condo board. Of course, prudent buyers would be well advised to look into the current costs and dynamics of the HOA board before purchasing. A poor board also represents an opportunity for someone with the time, skills and commitment to join and ‘improve’ the board for everyone. It must be stressed that in most cases the HOA is running just fine.