Common Interest Communities - A Basic Understanding

Over time, we've noticed that those who deal with common interest communities (homeowners and condominium associations) may regularly take for granted that everybody knows and understands what these communities are and how they function. We are as guilty of this as anyone. However, in a recent message from CAI (the Community Associations Institute), we were once again reminded that what is so common to us, may not be to others. So, borrowing from CAI, we are looking to help provide understanding.

The concept of a community association should be fairly clear to an association president or even many long-time residents. But for non-involved residents -- especially relatively new arrivals -- this form of common-interest governance can be perplexing and, at times, bewildering.

Those who haven't lived in a community association often don't understand the necessity—and value—of mandatory assessments, reserve funds, architectural guidelines and rules. For them, the association may be perceived as little more than a nebulous entity that expects payment on monthly or quarterly invoices. That lack of understanding can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding, the genesis of dissention and conflict.

That's why Community Associations Institute (CAI) developed An Introduction to Community Association Living, an easy-to-read summary of how associations are governed and managed. The 46-page text focuses on the rights and responsibilities of residents and the role of homeowners who serve as volunteer leaders of the association. In addition to explaining rules, regulations and fees, the document describes key documents that govern community associations, the function of association boards and what homeowners can expect from professional community managers.

By reading the document, residents can gain a greater understanding of exactly how an association works and how they can enjoy and benefit the most from community association living. The document can be downloaded free by clicking this link.

CAI is a national membership association that provides information, tools and resources to homeowners and professionals who govern and manage community and condominium associations. CAI members include community managers, volunteer community association leaders (homeowners) and businesses and professionals who support common-interest communities. More information about CAI can be obtained by clicking here or by calling toll-free (888) 224-4321.

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