Community Associations Institute (CAI) members recently met with members of the US Senate and House of Representatives in their district offices to discuss the concerns of their associations. The meetings focused on three main concerns with which community associations have been struggling.
Residents of community associations are just like residents elsewhere. They pay the same taxes and should receive the same benefits. However, the CAI complains that association insurance policies often fail to provide coverage for repair costs after natural disasters. Similarly, HOAS are not eligible to receive FEMA disaster relief after a natural disaster. CAI argues that since owners in community associations pay the same taxes and use the same municipal emergency services, they have the right to the same federal benefits as other residents after a natural disaster.
Currently, associations have the right to install amateur radio communications equipment, but Congress is trying to overrule this decision. The CAI, however, claims there is an underlying reason they want to overturn this rule. CAI feels that Congress simply wants to have the right to overturn association covenants and take the power out of the community’s hands. An association is only successful, however, when the homeowners (not the government) work together to create the rules and regulations for their community.
Mortgage Finance Reform
Right now, many states have an association lien priority statute. Basically, it means that if a homeowner has a lien from the HOA because of unpaid dues and a lien from the bank for failing to pay the mortgage, the HOA is paid first once the house goes into foreclosure. Congress trying to change this statute in favor of big mortgage lenders. They want the mortgage companies to be paid first. CAI, however, wants Congress to uphold existing state association priority lien laws, so associations can get the money they are owed. If the mortgage companies are paid first, there may not be any money left to pay the HOA lien.
Community associations have to follow state and federal guidelines, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to stop urging the government to create laws that benefit associations. If not corrected, these issues take power away from the HOA and put it in the hands of the government, which won’t benefit the homeowners.