Home Owner Association Membership

With Condominium Corporations, Community Leagues, The City of Edmonton and Home Owner Associations (HOA), it is easy to get confused about who takes care of what in your neighbourhood.  This article is meant to offer some awareness about Home Owner Associations as they are a growing trend in Edmonton.

Typically a Developer will create a Home Owner Association to provide improved value to the Neighbourhood and Owners through the development, enhancement and supplemental maintenance of the area amenities. An HOA may own land to be maintained, or obtain approval for enhancements of City Property. Any City Bylaw infractions occurring on City Property, still need to be reported to 311 as your HOA has no authority over City owned lands. HOA’s are a controversial topic whereby you are bound to find those that appreciate them, despise them and some who perhaps have no opinion. Neighbourhoods with an HOA tend to have high aesthetic appeal overall for many current owners and potential buyers when architectural guidelines are established and maintained. Those who oppose HOA’s, point their fingers at HOA boards, fee increases that can't be declined, and Architectural Guidelines that are in their opinion far too restrictive. It is important that you know the architectural guidelines in place for your neighbourhood such as roof type, fencing, colors, garages, sheds and more. The guidelines are registered on the property title to each single family, multifamily, residential lot, rental project, condominium unit and commercial development in the neighbourhood to ensure enforceability.

It is also important to understand that membership is not voluntary. An encumbrance is also registered on title in the favour of the Association securing payment of annual fees. Members are usually charged an annual fee administered by a volunteer board of directors to pay for costs associated with the development, enhancement and maintenance of the neighbourhood. Typically an Annual General meeting is held once per year, giving Members the opportunity to review initiatives in place by the Board and to volunteer as part of the Board for the ensuing term.

Whether or not to live in a development governed by an HOA is an individual choice. To ensure it fits within an individual’s overall plans for living in the neighbourhood short or long term, we recommend prospective Home Buyers find out:

  • If there is litigation pending involving the HOA
  • How often the dues have been raised
  • If there are any cash reserves
  • Read any architectural Guideline and make sure you can live with the conditions and restrictions contained in the document prior to purchase
  • Some HOA’s are Self-Managed by Volunteer Board Members, in which case it is critical that you know the commitment involved in the event you decide to volunteer.
  • If you live in a Condominium, you may have more than one Management Company to communicate with; one for the Condominium Corporation and another for the Home Owner Association

Ensure the specific property of interest has the HOA dues paid up to date, as any outstanding balance remains any new home owner’s responsibility.

Your professional REALTOR® can assist in seeking information specific to any neighbourhood of interest. Your neighbourhood may also have a Community League close by in which membership is voluntary. A Community League may provide recreation and social programs such as sports teams, family events, community garage sales, discussion evenings, movie nights, etc. for its members. Some develop amenities such as a community hall, rink, playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, etc. for the benefit of its membership, and represent the community at large on matters of interest to the appropriate order of government and other organizations (e.g.) traffic issues, new developments, housing, crime prevention, etc.

For more information or to find out about your closest Community League visit the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues http://www.efcl.org

This is an article from the Real Estate Weekly magazine written by Rose Evans.  She has given permission for the reproduction of her article.  Rose Evans is with Ayre and Oxford and is the president of one of the arms of Canadian Real Estate associations – primary business is condo management.