What is an HOA and How does it Work?

July 27, 2023

Homeowner Association You’ve probably heard the term ‘HOA’ thrown around if you’ve ever considered buying a home, particularly a condominium or a townhouse. However, what is an HOA? How do they work, what do they do, and what can they do to you? Let’s get started and cover the basics!

What is an HOA?

An HOA, or Homeowners Association, is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community. These communities can range from apartment buildings and condominiums to planned neighborhoods of houses. Essentially, an HOA is like a mini-government for a specific neighborhood or community. It’s important to note that when you purchase a property within an HOA, you automatically become a member and are therefore required to pay fees and abide by the community rules.

How do Homeowner Associations (HOAs) Work?

An HOA is typically run by a board of directors, elected by the community’s residents. These individuals are responsible for setting and enforcing the community rules, known as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). They also manage the collection of HOA dues, which are used for the upkeep of common areas such as landscaping, swimming pools, and gym facilities, among others.

Common HOA Rules and Services:

HOAs have a broad range of rules depending on the specific community. Some common HOA rules might regulate things like what color you can paint your house, where you can park your car, or whether you can keep pets and how many. They may even mandate quiet hours. In terms of services, HOAs typically take care of the communal areas. This might include landscaping, trash removal, maintaining recreation centers, snow removal, and more. Some HOAs may also provide security services or operate a community newsletter.

Different Types of HOAs:

There are several types of HOAs, which largely depend on the nature of the community they serve. For instance, a Condominium Association is an HOA that governs a condo complex. Similarly, a Planned Unit Development (PUD) or a Single-Family Home HOA serves in communities of single-family homes. The rules and fees can differ significantly between these types, so understanding the specific kind of HOA is crucial when purchasing a property.

Homeowner Associations (HOA) Fees:

HOA fees can vary dramatically based on the size of your home, the amenities in your community, and the location. These fees are typically paid monthly but can also be collected quarterly or annually. The money collected is used for general maintenance and unexpected expenses like a broken gate or damaged pool. If the HOA doesn’t have enough money in reserve to cover these costs, they may issue a special assessment, which can be an additional financial burden to homeowners.

How Does an HOA Benefit Homeowners?

While the rules and fees might seem restrictive or burdensome, HOAs can provide numerous benefits. These include maintaining property values by ensuring a uniform look and feel to the community, taking care of common areas, providing amenities like pools and gyms, and even mediating disputes between neighbors.


In summary, understanding what is an HOA and how it operates is vital for any potential homeowner considering buying in an HOA community. While there are rules to follow and fees to pay, the benefits of an HOA often outweigh the costs, particularly for those looking for a certain level of convenience and community aesthetic. Always remember to thoroughly review the HOA’s CC&Rs before making a home purchase, to ensure the community is the right fit for you.  

Heywood Community Management specializes in homeowners' association (HOA) management in Arizona and surrounding areas such as Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Phoenix, and more. Heywood HOA Management has actively been a part of Arizona's Real Estate market since 1933. With a single focus on community association management, Heywood Community Management is dedicating its resources to raising the community management standard of quality.

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