Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Resources
The HPS team takes seriously the stewardship of our managed communities and our relationships with all those we serve and work with. Choosing HPS means you are working with a strong team of dedicated professionals focused on management with integrity and accountability. We hope you will find the resources on this page helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful Resources

What is the purpose of an association?

The exact purpose of each association is outlined in the Controlling Documents and usually provide for the maintenance of common elements or limited common elements.  Another primary purpose of a community association is to ensure that an individual or group cannot negatively impact the market value of homes in the neighborhood.
 
How does an association protect home values?

Neighborhoods with plenty of curb appeal tend to maintain property values better. While it is obvious that well-kept homes, yards, and common areas help neighborhoods stay desirable, it is hard work keeping neighborhoods in pristine condition. Without rules, homeowners would be able to act without consequences. As a result, one or a few homeowners would have the ability to negatively impact the home values on a majority of other homes.

Community Rules and Covenants

Associations hold the community to a higher standard, thereby improving the experience for everyone. It is your responsibility, as an owner, to be aware of all of the association’s rules and covenants, and to abide by them. Your association’s declaration of covenants is part of the public records, and you are deemed to be aware of them, even if you have never read them.
When you make the investment in a home or a condominium, you want to be sure that your property value does not plummet. Community rules and covenants exist in part to ensure that home and condo owners maintain their property. Because neighboring properties help define the value of your home, it is essential to abide by the rule. Put plainly, it is to everyone’s benefit.

Community Pride

A nice neighborhood with well-manicured yards does wonders for your property value and comfort. Pride in a community is obvious when the residents, whether renters or owners, maintain their homes and care about their neighborhood. A pleasant community appearance adds to home values, helps attract business investment, and just improves the neighborhood reputation. A neighborhood can go from being an interesting place with lots of energy to a place nobody wants to be in very quickly.

Associations Can Dramatically Increase Property Values

Overall, associations can increase property values in the neighborhood by enforcing desirable standards to protect all members’ homes. In the end, it is up to you and your neighbors as residents to make a difference in maintaining and increasing the value of your home and the neighborhood.

The rules and regulations established by a Community are designed to protect the value of each property. Thus, rules become a necessity. While many people may be turned off by rules and regulations, it is one of the primary reasons that Community Associations remain popular.

How do I obtain my association's controlling documents?

You can login to the HPS Portal by clicking "Homeowner Login" in the upper right corner of this web page to obtain a free downloadable copy of your association's controlling documents.
 
What is a Resale Package?

 In most jurisdictions the Seller is legally required to provide answers to certain questions about the requirements of owners in the association, updated financial reports, and an updated copy of all the controlling documents.  These disclosures typically require the disclosure of other possible changes being contemplated. Since associations are constantly changing the answers to these questions must be current and updated before each sale to allow the buyer to make consciousness decision before buying property.
 
What do I need to know about refinancing a home in an association?

When refinancing your home, the lending institution will typically want to verify certain information about the condition of the association.  The request information can vary widely and include often lengthy questionnaires for HPS staff to complete.  Additionally, certain reports need to be completed.  In order to comply with this demand and have staff available to complete this service, HPS charges a fee based on the scope of work required by the lender.  Some lenders pay this expense while other pass this expense on to the homeowner before or after closing.

What happens if my account is in collections?
 
Once your account has not been paid after an extended period of time or because you failed to complete a payment plan, the Board of Directors turned your delinquent account over to a collections attorney. The agreement between the association and the attorney does not allow the association’s manager to accept payments from you until the delinquent account is paid in full and the association receives certificate of satisfaction from the attorney.  If you have submitted a payment to the association’s manager it has been forwarded to the associations attorney.  The association and the manager are not able to negotiate this debt with you.  You must contact the associations attorney.

Why is it important to clean dryer ducts regularly?

When it comes to home maintenance, some of the most crucial tasks are the ones most commonly neglected. You might be replacing your home air filters regularly, or completing other maintenance jobs, but when was the last time you thought about your clothes dryer? Dryer maintenance requires more than simply cleaning the lint screen in between loads of laundry; the real concern is your dryer’s vents. A dryer’s vent is comprised of ducts that run from the dryer to the outside.  A clogged dryer vent can cost you money—and possibly your home or your life. It is essential that these ventilation systems are cleaned properly at least once a year.

There are a few warning signs to indicate that your dryer vent isn’t working properly. The first sign is if your laundry takes longer than usual to completely dry. Dryers work by removing hot, moist air, so if something is preventing that air from getting out, your laundry will probably need a few extra cycles to dry. If this hot air isn’t able to escape, it could also result in your laundry room, dryer or clothes themselves being unusually warm. If you notice that your clothes have a strange smell, this could also be a sign that your dryer is not ventilating properly.

A clogged dryer vent can be extremely dangerous

Lint is highly flammable and can pose a severe fire hazard when dryer vents are not cleaned regularly and properly. According to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center, clothes dryers are responsible for more than 15,000 structure fires around the country each year, and 80 percent of those fires start with clogged dryer vents.

Give your wallet (and the environment) a break

Running your dryer with a dirty lint screen can use up to 30 percent more energy. Cleaning the lint filter between every cycle allows hot air to move efficiently through the dryer. If your dryer vent is clogged or blocked, it will have to run longer to fully dry your laundry, which uses more energy and could cause your electric bills to increase.
In addition to using more energy, if your dryer is taking twice as long to dry clothes, it’s being used twice as much, essentially cutting its life span in half. It will cost you much less in the long run to hire a professional to inspect and clean your vents once a year and avoid these issues altogether.

Prevent animals from nesting

When the lint buildup in your dryer vent becomes too large, the duct hood flap doesn’t open and close properly. If this flap isn’t closing correctly, it could be an invitation for birds and small rodents to make your vent their new home. What better place for these creatures to hide during a cold winter than a nice, warm dryer vent? In addition to keeping your vents clean, investing in a ventilation cap or dryer vent guard will help prevent these animals from nesting and other debris from collecting in your vent while still allowing lint to escape.

After having your dryer vents professionally cleaned, try to keep the buildup to a minimum between yearly cleanings. Always clean the lint filter between loads of laundry, and periodically use a small vacuum to carefully clean out the inside of the dryer, as well as the lint trap. Heavy bedding in particular can be strenuous on your dryer, so consider air drying comforters and heavy blankets. You should also avoid running your dryer for several cycles in a row. Giving your dryer a break in between cycles will allow your dryer to cool down and completely ventilate the hot, humid air from the previous cycle.

What is the Community Managers Roles & Responsibilities?

Managers work irregular hours

Managers typically attend meetings in the evening, may be on-site at an association, in scheduled meetings with others, or completing training. Therefore, managers do not maintain 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. office hours. Managers will typically respond to emails and phone calls within one business day. If a manager is on scheduled leave or out of the office for more than a day, they will update their voicemail and email automatic responses, unless they are sick.
 
Managers are advisors

While managers work closely with the Board, he or she is only an advisor, not a member of the Board and cannot set Board policy. Managers are not engineers, attorneys, land surveyors, or accountants. The Board may retain these services, if needed. We encourage you to attend the association meetings to stay informed.
 
Social media and websites

Managers do not moderate or control social media. Some managers may use social media or observe social media sites but are not required to do so by the Board. Some Boards or individuals have created social media pages or websites on their own that are outside the control of the manager. The best way to communicate with us is through your HPS Portal.
 
Obtaining information

The HPS Portal is your best tool for checking your account balance, viewing minutes, finding out meeting dates, viewing controlling documents, reporting issues, and much more. If you have not used this yet, we encourage you to do so! Go to www.HPSmanagement.com and click “Homeowner Login” in the top right corner.
 
Appointments with a manager

If you wish to speak with a manager in person, an appointment is required. This will allow the manager to have pertinent information available for the meeting and invite Board members to participate.
 
Emergencies

Matters that are not a risk of imminent bodily harm or significant property damage are dealt with during normal business hours. To report an emergency that does pose a risk of imminent bodily harm or significant property damage call 410-939-1500.
 
Solving your issue

We are here to help you! Managers are bound by laws, the association’s governing documents, and the Board. If the issue is not a violation of rules, or is not in the scope of the manager’s authority from the Board, the manager may not be able to take any action. Managers may refer you to the appropriate resource for your issue. 
 
Conflicts

Managers are trained to deal with conflict, but will not get involved in quarrels between neighbors.  
 
Compliments and concerns - We encourage you to send a letter or email to the Board, in care of the manager, for all compliments and concerns about Board policy and the performance of contractors. We also encourage you to attend meetings and share your thoughts in a polite manner directly to the Board. Profanity, threats, and providing false information will not be tolerated.
 
Contractors and vendors

Managers are responsible for monitoring contractors and vendor performance, but not for on-site supervision. If you have a concern about a contractor, we encourage you to send a letter or email to the manager who may notify the Board. The Board will always decide how to proceed under the terms of the contract. Please do not interfere with any contractor performing work in the community. 
 
Repairs to private property

Neither managers nor the association are responsible for repairs, or coordinating repairs, to homeowners’ personal property with very limited exceptions for condominiums.

Community Association Institute
     Introduction to Community Living
     Text Book Resources

Delaware
     The Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act
     Election Monitoring

Maryland
     Condominium Act

Pennsylvania

Virginia

Community Terminology

Articles of Incorporation - A set of formal documents filed with a state to legally document the creation of a corporation.  Most community association are incorporated entities.  Whether incorporated or not, most state laws treat community association community associations as a self-governing business entity.
 
Assessment - A budgeted amount of money an owner pays to the community association as assessed by the Board of Directors to pay the expenses of the community association during the budgeted period of time.
 
Association – See Community Association.
 
Best Practice - Professional procedure(s) that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective within the industry of community association management.
 
Board Liaison - A member of the Board of Directors, typically the president, who works as the primary point of contact between the manager and the Board of Directors.
 
Board Member - An elected or appointed member of a Board of Directors that acts as the governing body of the community association.
 
Board of Directors – The elected or appointed members of a community association who are responsible for governing the entity and for appointing the officers of the corporation.
 
Bylaws - A rule, or series of rules, formally made by a community association to govern the operation of the community association, required to be established in compliance with the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.
 
Case Law – A law that is established after a court makes a ruling forming a legal precedent.
 
Certificate of Account Standing – Also referred to as a Payoff Statement, describes the financial condition of a property within a community association to include account balance, frequency of assessments, and certain other information that varies by jurisdictions which may have specific items or issues that must be addressed.
 
Common Elements – Space within a community association that is owned by the community association.  The controlling documents of the community association typically delineate this area and govern its use.                                                                             
Community Association - An organization, usually a type of corporation or other legally formed entity, to oversee the use and administration of a development for either commercial or residential use that is governed by a Board of Directors typically, but not always, comprised of those with an ownership interest in the community association.  The term is broadly applied to condominium associations, homeowners associations, and maintenance corporations.
 
Condominium -  A form of legal ownership in which ownership is divided into individual units and sold. Ownership usually includes a nonexclusive interest in certain "common properties" controlled by the condominium community association.
 
Controlling Documents – Also known as Governing Documents, the documents forming and regulation how the community association is operated which usually include the Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Rules and Regulations, and Articles of Incorporation.  State laws regulate the recording of these documents in land record offices and the distribution to prospective home buyers.
 
Council of Unit Owners – The group of homeowners comprising a condominium who elect a Board of Directors to govern the condominium community and its property.
 
Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R) - A legal document, or series of documents, often referred to as the declaration, typically recorded in a jurisdictions land records that sets forth the regulations for owners of units in a community association and describes the owner's use of limited common areas and general common areas. The declaration usually includes rules for future use and the procedure for selecting the board of directors for the community association.
 
Deed – The legal document recording the person(s) who have a legal right to property.
 
Governing Documents – See Controlling Documents.
 
Homeowners Association (HOA) – A nongovernment body, typically a non-profit corporation, which regulates the homes comprised within the association and oversees certain maintenance issues for the mutual benefit of the community. 
 
Laws – The enforceable rules enacted as Statutory Law or Case Law that regulating the actions of those under their jurisdiction and are enforced by the imposition of penalties.
 
Limited Common Elements – Part of a unit that is typically maintained by a deeded owner but that is the property of the community association, typically in a condominium, such as balconies, decks, doors, windows, etc. The controlling documents of the condominium typically govern limited common elements.
 
Maintenance Corporation – A community association set-up specifically to maintain certain common elements of a group of homes, homeowner’s association, condominium association, or a combination of a smaller associations.
 
Management Company – The company retained by the community association’s Board of Directors to manage certain aspects of the association as outlined in a management agreement. 
 
Manager – The person(s) appointed by the Management Company to act as the liaison between the Board of Directors, Homeowners, service providers and others and complete certain tasks as the Agent for the community association.
Master Association – A community association that oversees a group of subordinate associations.
 
Officers - Usually, but not always, a member of the Board of Directors who acts in an official capacity as directed by the Board of Directors but in compliance with the controlling documents of the community association; examples include a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
 
Planned Unit Development – Also referred to as a PUD, a planned development mapping out a planned layout or use for a community.  The term is more often applied to single family homes forming a community association but can refer to other types of home and business forming a development.  A PUD is also a regulatory process for developing a planned community with some definitions and process varying by federal, state, county, and local laws and regulations.
 
Plat – A map of a lot within a Planned Unit Development (PUD) and where the home is situated on that lot.  A Plat is typically maintained with a county, city, or municipal land records office.
 
President - Typically a member of the Board of Directors and who is elected by the Board of Directors to serve as leader of the Board of Directors and principal officer of the community association.  Duties and powers are delineated in the communities controlling documents.
 
Questionnaire – A document with questions sent by lender to determine the financial condition of a community association, the answers of which will assist in the lenders determination is whether or not to loan money to a borrow to purchase a lot within a community association.
 
Regulations – A set of rules established by a federal, state, local regulatory body, with that body garnering its regulatory authority within the scope of a statute.  Regulations are typically used in housing to adapt to quickly changing technology or processes more efficiently than a legislative body and with a group comprised of individuals from varying level of expertise in correlating fields.
 
Resale Package - A resale package is a packet of vital information provided to those purchasing a condominium or a home in an association usually purchased/provided by the seller. The package includes a complete set of recorded documents that govern your association. The Resale Package will vary from state to state but each state and some jurisdictions have specific items or issues that must be addressed in each transaction when real estate is sold.  The resale package usually includes a Certificate of Account Standing (Payoff Statement), Articles, Declaration(s), Bylaws, Easement(s), Agreement(s), Resolution(s), Annual Budget, Insurance Accord(s), Rules and Regulations, HPS Management Forms, Inspection Certificate, and Association Disclosures.
 
Rules and Regulations - A series of rules or regulations usually adopted by the Board of Directors for a community association governing certain aspects of the community association usually allowed to be established in accordance with the Bylaws.
 
Secretary - The officer of the community association appointed by the Board of Directors whose duties are delineated in the communities controlling documents but who is usually responsible for supervising and handling the documents of the community association such as minutes, resolutions, correspondence, contracts, rosters, etc. 
 
Statute – Also known as Statutory Law, a law that is passed by an elected group of legislators.
 
Special Assessment - An assessment that is in addition to a regularly budget assessment, typically assessed by a board of directors, to pay for an expense or expenses of the community association that was not originally budget for in the annual approved budget.
 
Subdivision – An area of land divided into lots.
 
Subordinate Association – A community association that is subject to a master association.
 
Survey – A professional determination of the physical boundaries forming a lot.
 
Treasurer - The officer of the community association appointed by the Board of Directors whose duties are delineated in the communities controlling documents but who is usually responsible for supervising and handling the finances of the community association. 
 
Vice President - Typically a member of the Board of Directors and who is elected by the Board of Directors to serve as leader of the Board of Directors and principal officer of the community association in the absence of the President.  Duties and powers are delineated in the communities controlling documents.

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