Most condominium buildings or planned communities have a Homeowner’s Association, or HOA. The HOA is responsible for managing all of the common areas of the community, including such things as maintenance and gardening. Typically, the HOA is composed of several residents of the community, who collect money from residents — HOA fees — in order to pay specialists for maintenance. Residents usually aren’t required to directly interact with the HOA, but since the revenues they collect benefit the entire community, all homeowners in the community are required to pay HOA fees. In exchange, most of the residents don’t have to worry about routine upkeep.
Declining to participate may prevent your vote from counting when determining where the money goes, though. Except in smaller communities, most residents aren’t on the board of HOA directors. For the most part, HOAs do care about maintaining the community and have good intentions — they probably also live there, after all. However, they may not have the same expertise or connections as you, and it’s theoretically possible that the board members are primarily absentee owners renting out the units. So if you want your voice to be heard, consider joining the board. HOAs are not strongly regulated, so how difficult it would be to get on the board could vary.
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