Association Educational Information

About Community Living

 Your community association was organized for the purpose of fulfilling the following objectives: 

  • to safeguard the architectural integrity of the community,
  • to obtain the services necessary for the maintenance of Common Area property, and
  • to promote increased property values of the homes for the benefit of association members.

Organization of the Association

Membership Means Organization

Upon acquisition of a home, the deed requires that the owner become a mandatory member of the Association.  At the Association's annual meeting, community members elect fellow homeowners to the Association's board of directors.  The members of the board are volunteers and serve without compensation.  The directors elect the respective board officers.

The Declaration of Protective Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, Easements, Charges and Liens (simply "Declaration"), or master deed, contains the rights and restrictions governing the use of the common areas, as well as the individual lots.  The Declaration was recorded in the County Clerk's office prior to the first home conveyance.  The terms of the Declaration bind all present and future owners and mortgagees of the property.

For more information on community association standards see Understanding Association Rules & Regulations.

The By-Laws set forth the policies and procedures for the operation of the Association including the formation and duties of its board of directors, meeting and voting guidelines, fee determinations and the requirements for amendment. 

Although the board of directors has ultimate and fiduciary responsibility for managing the community, the By-Laws provide for hiring a professional property managing agent to assist the board in fulfilling its duties and responsibilities. 

The purpose of the Offering Plan is to set forth the terms of the original offering by the sponsor/developer.  The Offering Plan contains the Declaration, Deed, By-Laws, Article of Incorporation, first year operating budget and other information as required by the Department of Law to insure full disclosure of every aspect of the original purchaser's investment.  The Offering Plan was filed by the sponsor and accepted by the Attorney General's Office of the Department of Law, State of New York prior to conveyance of the first home.

Membership Means Participation

Each homeowner is involved in the Association at some level.  Individual involvement may include that:

  • your association dues are paid on time;
  • association standards are adhered to at all times;
  • you vote at the annual board of directors meeting.

Management of the Association

The Association acts as a "mini-government" in that it oversees and operates the community, maintains common area(s), establishes standards and policies, collects assessments, and makes all decisions that are vital to the successful operation of the Association.

Board of Directors

The board of directors governs the business affairs of the Association.  The board is assigned the powers and duties necessary for the business administration of the community by the By-Laws and Declaration.  In addition to other duties, the board is primarily responsible for setting the annual budget, levying the association assessment, enforcing the architectural standards, hiring the managing agent, engaging contractors, purchasing insurance and paying applicable taxes.

The board sets forth budget information and the adoption of policies and community matters via written communications and at association meetings.  The board of directors generally meets monthly to quarterly, depending on the size and complexity of the community.  Knowing your board representative, and working with them, is an important part of your membership in the Association.

Property Managing Agent

The Managing Agent assists the board of directors by providing financial, administrative and facilities management, maintenance supervision, rules and regulation enforcement services, as well as assistance and consulting services on a wide range of matters to the Board and Association.

Backed by over 30 years experience in real estate management, development, investment and brokerage services, Diamond Realty Management specializes in condominium and homeowner association management. 

Annual / Association Meetings

In accordance with the By-Laws, the Association convenes an annual meeting to:

  • present the annual financial statement,
  • elect board members,
  • present the President's report, 
  • present the Managing Agent's report, and,
  • Transact any other business that may come before the board.

Committees and Volunteers

The success of any community association is dependent upon the meaningful participation of its members.  If you wish to participate on the board or a particular committee, or volunteer your services on behalf of the community, please contact the managing agent or a member of the board of directors.

Association Fee

The Association assessment is developed by the board of directors based on the adoption of an operating and, if any, the capital reserve budget.  Monthly assessments are used to fund operations for the benefit of the community.   Prompt payment of the assessment ensures the efficient operations and assures the attractive appearance of the community, which helps ensure for the protection of property values.

In general, monthly Association Assessment payments are to be received on or before the 10th of each month, or on the date specified on the billing statement, using the payment coupon booklet/envelopes provided.   

In accordance with Association policy, assessment payments not received on time may be subject to late payment charges, in accordance with Association policy. Non-payment can lead to legal proceedings with all applicable collection costs incurred by the owner.

Please contact the managing agent if you encounter an economic or medical hardship and need to arrange an alternative payment agreement. 

Community Standards

Purchasing a residence in a community association offers several advantages to the owner; however, at the same time it also imposes some reasonable restrictions.  These standards are a means of maintaining community harmony while preserving property values.

These standards were formulated for the collective benefit of the community and it is expected that all residents will voluntarily comply with them.

Understanding Association Rules & Regulations

An estimated 40 million people - one out of every eight Americans - live in community associations today.  These associations are private, nonprofit organizations in which all property owners are automatically association members.   This housing alternative offers several advantages over conventional single family homeownership.

  The Association's goals are to:

  • perpetually ensure the communities' aesthetic appeal,
  • enhance property values, and
  • maintain all common areas. 

When groups of people - no matter their size - share common area property, rules must be set forth.  Further, the need to establish reasonable and uniform policies is heightened as a result of increased housing density, that in turn achieves greater green space, lower housing costs and less maintainable grounds area. 

For the benefit of all members, the uniqueness of community living prescribes the necessity to maintain "standards of living," and compliance with these standards is necessary to promote harmonious living and to protect property values.  The existence of these standards is one of the basic advantages of the community association concept.

Living standards and guidelines govern the community in three areas:

  1.  Establishes the use of common properties and individual lots/units. This promotes uniformity, establishes minimum (building and grounds) maintenance requirements, and promotes that the sharing of common properties is both equitable and harmonious.
  2. Controls changes in architectural or exterior appearance. This establishes and preserves uniform design as it strives to protect property values and assures that the character and integrity of the community is maintained. 
  3. Establishes conduct guidelines for residents and guests. This helps promote peaceful coexistence by minimizing possible neighborly disturbances.                        

The advantages of community living are many.  As noted, it assures for an attractive community appearance, provides for harmonious living, and protects homeowners' property values.  These standards are incorporated in each homeowner's deed, therefore, their benefits will endure with the land, rather than at the whim of each succeeding homeowner.  

The governing documents include: 

  • Articles of Incorporation - The Articles establish the association and its purpose structure and powers.
  • By-Laws  - The By-Laws establish the procedures for the operation of the Association through the board of directors, officers, committees and membership meetings.
  • Declaration  - The Declaration defines each homeowner's property rights and the conditions of use of the property, as well as the homeowners rights and obligations to the Association.

For the increasingly sophisticated home buying public, community association ownership provides for an unparalleled quality of life, a warm neighborly atmosphere, and an overall community spirit that is unattainable elsewhere.

Community Matters - Questions & Answers

For answers to the most commonly or the most commonly asked questions, see this brief and helpful document.

Reserve Planning & Funding

As community association boards of directors quickly discover, maintaining the common area/elements of a community association is one of the main purposes of an association. Common area/elements can be limited to something as simple as a flower bed at the community entrance or encompass, in a condominium regime, the entire building exterior including building roofs, stairs, siding/masonry, landscaping, and occasionally even roads. Funds must be available in order to expense the replacement, repair, and/or upgrade of these items when it becomes necessary to do so.

For a primer on the reserve planning and funding open the Adobe document.

Board Member Orientation

  1. Officer's Responsibilities

    1. President
      1. Prepares meeting agenda; or delegates task to the property manager
      2. Presides at meetings of the board and Association
      3. Appoints and supervises all committee chairs
      4. Acts as liaison with property manager
      5. Selects and trains board members for future leadership positions
      6. Controls all meetings
      7. Sets a positive example for other volunteers

    2. Secretary
      1. Prepares meeting minutes
      2. Attests to the authenticity of all corporate documents
      3. Certifies all meeting notices and election results
      4. Acts as a timekeeper for all meetings
      5. Posts meeting and special meeting notices, as requested

    3. Treasurer
      1. Acts as Chief Financial Officer of the Association
      2. Responsible for collection and expenditure of assessments
      3. Reviews and monitors financial statements
      4. Reports to the board at each meeting on budgetary matters and summarizes financial statements as part of the Treasurer's Report.  Reports include:

        1. The amount of cash on hand
        2. The status of reserves
        3. Notes any unusual accounts receivable and payable
        4. Notes actual budget variances  for the month and year (if substantial)

      5. Signs all checks in accordance with Association policy.
      6. Approves/monitors investment policy
      7. Monitors repair/replacement of major components in accordance with the Reserve Study
      8. Monitors the accounts receivable aging report in cooperation with the Managing Agent.

  2. All Board Members

    1. Attend all meetings completely prepared in advance
    2. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times
    3. Ask questions ahead of time
    4. Accept and support the President as a leader
    5. Place all personal issues aside
    6. Encourage others to participate by example
    7. Be open and fair at all times
    8. Avoid surprising other board members and/or the Manager with topics and issues that were not previously discussed
    9. Maintain a healthy perspective
    10. Maintain all director information as confidential.

  3. Open Forum Meeting Conduct

    In most cases the board of directors welcomes resident attendance during the "Open Forum" period of the meeting to ask questions and to obtain assistance.

    Procedures for an Open Forum:

      1. Participants should raise their hand to be recognized by the board's President.
      2. Participants should state their concerns in clear and simple terms in three minutes or less.
      3. If a participant would like to add a comment to a previously stated concern they should raise their hand to be recognized. However, the Chair may limit participation to a particular topic to one per owner.
      4. Participants should not interrupt others while they are speaking.
      5. All maintenance related items should be directed to Diamond Realty Management.  The Open Forum is not the proper venue to report routine maintenance items.
      6. The Board will take all concerns noted during the Open Forum under consideration, and act upon them at the appropriate time.

  4. Understanding Board Meeting Conduct

    1. The board meeting is a meeting of the directors of the Association.
    2. All homeowners have a vested interest in their community.  The board members were elected to take care of those interests on their behalf.
    3. Business matters come before the board when a motion is made, and seconded by another.
    4. Each motion has a discussion period prior to its vote.  This discussion period takes place between members of the board and management, if warranted, only.
    5. Only board members can vote on a motion.
    6. To be placed on the agenda for a future board meeting, homeowners should submit all motion item requests or meeting topic suggestions in writing prior to the next scheduled board meeting. Written requests, in most cases, will be accepted until the day before the scheduled board meeting.

  5. Meeting Agenda

    A typical agenda includes:

      1. Call to Order - The President announces that the meeting will now come to order.
      2. Roll Call - Board members announce that they are  "present" as their respective names are called
      3. Minutes - The Secretary reads the minutes of the board last meeting.
      4. Officer's Reports - This is often limited to a report from Treasurer, however, others may report at this time.
      5. Committee Reports - Reports from "standing" or permanent committees are heard first; then reports from "ad hoc" or special committees follow.
      6. Unfinished Business - Business unfinished from previous meetings is discussed.
      7. New Business - New topics are discussed.
      8. Announcements -  All other events or announcements are made.
      9. Adjournment - The meeting is adjourned by a vote, by general consent, or by the Chair's decision if time of adjournment was prearranged by vote.
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