Seward Law Office, P.A.

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The basics of condominium and homeowners associations

When looking for a place to buy here in Tampa, a community with "extras" may be just what some people want. In order to get those amenities such as pools, tennis courts and other common areas, those communities more than likely come with condominium and homeowners associations, depending on what type of housing an individual wishes to purchase. Most people have heard of HOAs or condo associations, but many people don't understand how they work.

HOAs and condo associations do a lot of good for the community. They keep up the common areas, make repairs and maintain the structures in the common areas such as the pool, and association boards do what they can to keep everyone's property values steady or rising. On the other hand, boards can only do these things through the collection of monthly fees and special assessments.

The board is also responsible for enforcing the rules, along with the covenants, conditions and restrictions for a particular community. The CC&Rs, as they are called, include any number of things that homeowners can and cannot do with their property. For instance, a homeowner may be restricted in the paint colors that can be used on the exterior of the home.

Understanding the rules and CC&Rs is essential prior to purchasing a Tampa home or condo. This helps prevent any surprises after taking possession of the property. As part of the due diligence that goes along with any residential real estate transaction, it's important to thoroughly review -- and obtain clarification of -- any documentation relevant to the condominium and homeowners associations involved.

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