Finding the homeowners association (HOA) affiliated with your townhouse, condominium or other real estate isn't always easy. Ideally, you'll have a bunch of governing documents, including what the Texas State Law Library mentions as the community's declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R). This tells you the name of the homeowners association, where the HOA board is located and what contact information to know.
However, that isn't always the case. The good news is that property owners should be able to determine the associated HOA community through the state division of corporations or the county recorder's office.
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Importance of Identifying a Homeowners Association
Knowing your associated HOA is crucial since there are many HOA rules to follow and bylaws to understand. For example, you can experience prohibitions on certain activities, like running a business from home or not being allowed to use certain paint colors or decorations. Solar United Neighbors cautions that the HOA might also prohibit solar panels.
You'll also want to know the HOA so you can be aware of HOA fees you must pay and which responsibilities the HOA has. For example, the HOA is typically responsible for the upkeep of the tennis courts, pool, clubhouse and other common areas. Your fees can also cover landscaping, snow removal and other services.
If you don't know the name of your community and your neighbors don't know either, then check your deed.
Look for the Recorded CC&R
In most places, the CC&R and plat maps for the subdivision are recorded with the county recorder's office. These HOA documents are a legal requirement to ensure the restrictions and contractual obligations that affect the property will bind future owners.
In addition, most HOAs are incorporated as nonprofit corporations. As such, they are required to register and make certain filings with the state's corporation division under state law. You can explore both avenues to get the information you need about HOA approval.
Find Your Community’s Name
You'll run the searches using the name of the community or subdivision, so that's your starting point. If you don't know the name of your community and your neighbors don't know either, then check your deed. The name of the subdivision may be written into the legal description of the property.
Alternatively, log on to the county assessor's website and search the records by providing some information about the property. For example, Utah County Government lets you run searches by name, address or parcel serial number and has a subdivision search lookup too. Once you pull up your property's records, you should see the subdivision name alongside other tax records data.
Visit the State's Corporation Commission
Another option is to type "[your state] Division of Corporations" into a search engine to find the website for your state's corporation commission website. For example, if you have a townhome or single-family home in Florida, the Florida Division of Corporations would be the source to consult to find the associated community association. From there, you can run a corporation search by entering the name of the subdivision or community.
What you're looking for are the articles of incorporation and/or annual reports of the HOA. Somewhere in those documents, you should find the legal name of the HOA, its mailing address, homeowners association management and/or board details and the name and address of the association's registered agent.
The agent is legally authorized to receive letters and notices on behalf of the HOA. This person may also be a board member or an attorney. If you have a complaint or a query, then you should address your correspondence to the registered agent.
Check if You Have the Right HOA
If you want a more careful measure, consider visiting the county recorder's office and ask to see the plat map for your subdivision. This map shows all the lots and properties that belong to a particular subdivision or community. Make sure your home is covered.
You should also be able to review the CC&Rs applicable to your subdivision. This document will list the lot numbers that are within the homeowners association's purview, so you can double-check that you have found the right association. Sometimes, HOAs have very similar names, and you want to make sure you have the right one for your home.
Use Paid HOA Locator Services
If you're drawing a blank, it could mean that something has gone wrong with the HOA's mandatory state filing, or it could mean that no HOA exists. A paid service could be your best and final resource.
Association Online is one site that offers HOA locator services to help you find the association that's responsible for your home. This service comes with a fee, so be prepared to pay with a credit card or electronic check.