Your home is part of a community association that is registered with the State of Arizona as a Non-Profit Corporation. The Association is managed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is the governing body, elected by the association members, to oversee the business affairs of the Association. The Board establishes the rules and regulations, approves the annual budget, oversees the maintenance of the common areas, enforces the governing documents (CC&Rs, By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation) and is the decision-making body for all association business.
Each year your Association’s Board of Directors will prepare, approve and distribute a new budget. The budget represents your Board’s best estimate of anticipated income, expenses and financial operating requirements for the Association’s fiscal year.
A very good question. As with so many things in life, the goods and services used for the operation and management of the Association are subject to inflationary pressures. Your Association does not operate in an economic bubble isolated from the rest of the world. However, the expectations, needs and wants of the community members ultimately establish the budget through the standard of living they desire.
Not paying the assessment is a bad idea. In fact, the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) state that not paying your assessment makes the homeowner subject to a lien, which could eventually result in the foreclosure of your home. The CC&Rs further protect the Association by prohibiting all offsets. This means should a homeowner feel the Association owes the homeowner money or is not performing its duties, the homeowner does not have the right to not pay any portion of the assessment as an offset. Since the assessment is the primary source of income for the Association and the Association would not be able to function without it, there is significant protection for the Association under current state laws.
Phone Empire Community Management (ECM) at 480-278-3789, Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your bill for your monthly assessment.
A Management Company is hired by your Association’s Board of Directors to act as an agent on behalf of the association in the operation and administration of Association business and affairs. Typically, the responsibilities of the Management Company would include:
Attend Board meetings and provide advice and counsel to the Board relating to such matters as insurance, mandatory filings, records and correspondence, legal deliberations/actions, maintenance, finances and homeowner requests and concerns.
Maintain banking and accounting services, prepare budget proposals, provide monthly financial reports and statements and assist if the collection of delinquent accounts pursuant to the policies and procedures established by the Board of Directors.
Propose maintenance specifications, solicit and evaluate bids and administer the contracts of the Association for the maintenance and service of the common areas.
Provide a 24 hour emergency on-call service in order to handle any situation involving manifest danger to life and property or immediately necessary for the preservation and safety of the project of the residents.
Each Association’s CC&Rs specify the requirements for insurance coverage for fire and casualty, and public liability for the common areas. The extent of the coverage, limits and deductibles in place may be obtained by contacting the Associations insurance agent. In addition to the coverage provided by your Association, homeowners should consult with a qualified insurance expert to consider additional coverage available. Consideration should be given to coverage for personal contents, additional property coverage, special assessment losses, flood, etc.
Ultimately, whether you own a Condominium, Townhome or Single-family Home, you will need to contact your own Insurance Agent and provide them with the Association’s governing documents pertaining to insurance, and provide them a copy of the Association’s Insurance Policy to ensure correct coverage to your home.
The management of the Association is subject to certain governing documents most commonly known as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation. The governing documents stipulate the purpose, powers and manner by which your Association operates. The general duties and powers of the Association are specified in the governing documents. The following is a content summary of a typical Association’s governing documents.
Architectural Review Process
Before you get started making all those great improvements to your new home, take a moment to read on so you are not caught by surprise when your Association comes knocking at your door.
1. Association Responsibilities: One of the more important functions of an Association is enhancing the desirability and attractiveness of living in the community by preserving the architectural character of the neighborhood. The Association is granted the power to administer and enforce architectural controls within the community by the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (the "CC&Rs"). Typically, Associations administer and enforce architectural rules through an Architectural Review Committee (the "Architectural Committee"). The Architectural Committee is appointed as provided in the CC&Rs. Generally, the committee has the authority to (i) review and approve all plans and specifications for alterations, modifications and new construction; (ii) establish and administer general Architectural Guidelines and Standards; and (iii) enforce the Architectural Standards within the community.
2. Homeowner Responsibilities: Prior to the commencement of any work, it is the responsibility of the individual homeowner to review the Association's Architectural Guidelines and Standards in their entirety and to submit their architectural request in full conformance with those Guidelines and Standards. In addition, homeowners are obligated to comply with Master Association governing documents (if applicable), local government ordinances and building codes.
3. Purpose of Architectural Guidelines: Architectural Guidelines and Standards are designed to provide design criteria for home improvements within the community. They are intended to help the Owner and the Association establish a high quality of appearance, to assure a harmonious streetscape and to direct character and form to enhance the community's overall value. These guidelines and standards are to be followed by all Owners for any modifications, changes or alterations to any portion of a building, landscaping or lot.
4. Enforcement and Violations: Failure to submit the required plans and application, and obtain the necessary approval from your Association for any alteration, modification or new construction, may constitute a violation of the CC&Rs. Such violation could result in the Association's requiring the modification or removal of the work (regardless of whether it has been completed) at the expense of the owner. All residents have the right and the responsibility to bring to the attention of the Architectural Committee any violations of any provision or standard that the Association's Board of Directors or the Committee has adopted.
5. How to Submit: All requests for Architectural Committee approval of improvements must be made with the standard forms/application provided by your Association’s Architectural Committee and should be emailed, mailed or delivered to the Architectural Committee through the Manager for the Association in care of the Community Manager: Your Association c/o Empire Community Management, LLC, 1959 S. Power Road, Suite 103-444, Mesa, Arizona 85206. You may email the request to email@example.com. Telephone inquiries should be directed to (480) 278-3789.
6. Submission of Plans & Applications: Plans must be clear, complete, drawn to scale and prepared in accordance with applicable building codes. Plans shall show all dimensions, sizes, materials, finish colors, plant species, drainage, grading, etc. to provide a full representation of the proposed improvement. Failure to submit complete plans will result in denial of the application.
7. Incomplete Applications: Your Association’s Architectural Committee typically will not review incomplete submissions. Incomplete submissions will generally be returned as insufficient and deemed not formally submitted.Your Association’s Architectural Committee typically will not review incomplete submissions. Incomplete submissions will generally be returned as insufficient and deemed not formally submitted.
8. Committee Review: Architectural review periods vary from Association to Association. Homeowners should check their Association’s CC&Rs or with the Manager to verify review periods. Typically, the Architectural Committee will have from 30-45 days from receipt of an Owner's plans to approve, conditionally approve or disapprove. No construction may begin prior to receipt of the Architectural Committee’s written approval or the end of the review period as stated in the CC&R’s, whichever occurs first.
9. Approval: Final approval by the Architectural Committee should always be issued in writing.
Resolving Disputes - Keeping peace with neighbors, friends and people in between
Your role as a participant:
Disputes arise in all aspects of life, but when they involve your home and matters of lifestyle, they can have a dramatic impact. Resolving disputes is no easy matter. However, if a dispute does arise, Empire Community Management suggests the following Dispute Resolution Process to keep the peace.
Remain objective: To effectively facilitate the resolution of disputes it is important that participants maintain an open mind with a genuine concern for resolving the issues in the best interest of all involved. If the perception is that either party has adopted an unchanging position the objective of negotiations will be compromised. Naturally, it is understood that differences do exist, otherwise there would not be a dispute to resolve. However, the process of dispute resolution needs to involve some middle ground on behalf of the participants. Without which, reasonable reconciliation of the issues will not be reached, which should be the goal of the participants.
Employ courteous and civil behavior during discussions: Disputes regarding home ownership issues can become very emotional. Often what is at stake are very precious commodities in the form of pride, lifestyle and perceptions of home ownership rights. These strong feelings can lead to shouting matches if basic courtesies and parliamentary rules are not followed. For this reason, it is crucial that all parties involved in discussions clearly understand the parliamentary procedures employed during the resolution process. These include the following common courtesies and practices:
▪ Only one person to speak at a time.
▪ Do not interrupt others. Show each participant the same courtesy you would want extended to you.
▪ Respect the responsibility and authority of the person chairing the discussion.
▪ Be prepared to speak. Comments should be to the point and relate to the issues under discussion.
▪ Do not shout.
▪ Do not use profanity or other inflammatory language.
▪ Always be polite. You may use words such as thank you, please and you’re welcome.
Specify what's wrong: The first step in solving a problem is to define the problem. Before effective solutions can be reached, a clear definition of the problem needs to be developed and agreed upon. From this point progress towards resolution begins. Participants need to clearly state their positions and feelings regarding the issues.
Listen to all positions and options:Listening is the number one duty of all participants. Often a combatant's opportunity to be heard by an objective and interested party is adequate compensation for accepting compromise and recognizing common ground.
Volunteer solutions: Disagreements are a natural part of negotiations. When they occur, alternatives need to be explored. As an interested participant, you can be a valuable source of alternative solutions to resolve differences. Sometimes a little unbiased insight can lead to amenable solutions to impassable barriers.
End with a clear decision and action: The resolution process should lead to a clear and decisive ending. After all parties, have been given a reasonable opportunity to be heard and participate in the resolution process, reasonable people should be able to reach a conclusion. Decisions should be free from ambiguity and clearly state the action or actions to be taken by all involved parties. If necessary, some follow-up action may be appropriate to verify that the intended results of the decision have been reached.
If this is not successful, please write down your concerns describing the specific rule, covenant, condition or restriction your neighbor has allegedly violated and mail/email your request to the Board of Directors c/o Empire Community Management, 1959 S. Power Road, Suite 103-444, Mesa, AZ 85206 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, Your request will be reviewed by the Board at their next regular meeting.
For more information concerning your Association, please contact ECM at (480) 278-3789 or email to email@example.com.
Please contact ECM regarding any problem or concern with the common areas.: (480) 278-3789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1959 S. Power Rd, #103-444, Mesa, AZ 85206
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