How To Find The Homeowners' Association Information For A Property
Finding the homeowners' association linked to a property can sometimes be frustrating and time-consuming. The good news is that you may not have to drive down to your county's office to retrieve the information you need, thanks to Google. This article will attempt to help you save time by giving you step by step instructions and directing you to the right government agencies where the homeowners association information and documentation are usually stored.
Two important factors to understand:
- Homeowners' associations are created by the recording of the community's Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, commonly known as the "covenants" or "CC&Rs," and community plats or surveys. These documents must be recorded with the county recorder's office to create restrictions that run with the property, and provide record notice of the contractual obligations to prospective buyers, and
- Most homeowners associations are incorporated as nonprofit corporations and may be required to file annual reports with the corporation commission, in order to remain in good standing.
With this understanding, the following steps may be taken to locate a homeowners' association associated with a particular property.
Step 1 - Know the name of your subdivision or community.
If you don't, you may be able to obtain the information from your county assessor's office. For example, let's assume your property is in Brevard, Florida. We would visit the Brevard's county assessor site and conduct a property search to find the legal information of the property. In most cases, you will be able to conduct a search by:
- Owner's Name
- Property Address
- Parcel ID
- Subdivision Name
- Condominium Name
Other ways to find the name of your community or subdivision are:
- Google your address, as your neighbor down the street, may be selling his or her property, and the real estate agent may have all the community information you seek posted online. Sometimes, you may find the name of your association listed.
- Review your property's deed or mortgage. These documents will have the name of the subdivision where the property is located.
- Ask your neighbor.
Step 2 - Find your association's corporation information
Now that you have the name of your community and/or subdivision, you can find your association's contact information by visiting your state's corporation commission website. Using the same example, we would visit the Florida Corporations Commission and conduct a corporation search by entering the name of the subdivision or community.
Most states require associations to file the articles of incorporation and annual reports disclosing the following information:
- Entity Legal Name
- Principal Address
- Mailing Address
- Registered Agent Name & Address
- Officer/Director Detail
Typically, you can download the association's articles of incorporation and annual reports, at no cost. However, some states may charge a fee.
Step 3 - View your association's recorded documents
Now that you have your association's legal name, let's visit the county recorder's website to view all the documents your association has recorded, including the Declaration and plats.
Most counties will give you the option to conduct a search by:
- Document Number
- Document Type
- Recording Date
- Subdivision Name
Unfortunately, most states will charge you a fee to download or print a document. However, they typically allow you to view the document, for free.
Step 4 - Make sure you have the right association
As you may know, most communities have similar names, so don't jump to conclusions. In order to determine if an association is linked to a property, you will have to review the following documents:
- Plat or subdivision map recorded by the association. This document illustrates which lots/properties are part of a particular subdivision.
- The association's CC&Rs will list the lot numbers that are within the development and part of the association, and
- Deed - Your deed may expressly provide that the property is subject to covenants and may list the recording number and county where the covenants were recorded.
Step 5 - Finding multiple associations linked to a property
It's not uncommon to find two or three associations linked to one property, especially in Florida. For this reason, it is important that you read your association's CC&Rs to make sure no other associations exist. Moreover, the CC&Rs will provide the legal description of the property subject to the association. This information is usually found as an Exhibit to the CC&Rs.
Step 6 - Contacting your homeowners' association
If your association has a management company, it may be as simple as making a phone call to request information about your association account. However, many associations are self-managed and may require you to draft a short letter requesting the information you seek. Keep in mind that an association's board has a fiduciary duty of care, reasonable inquiry, and good faith.
In addition, as previously discussed, homeowners have the right to inspect and copy the records of the association. In particular, state laws define which HOA documents members can inspect, how they must make an inspection request, whether and how much the board can charge for copies of the HOA documents, and what recourse homeowners have if the board refuses the inspection.
We hope you find this information helpful. We know it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to research and find this information, especially when it's your first time. That's why we offer this service to homeowners. Let us know if we can help.