Are you considering purchasing a home in a home or condo association? Before renting or buying a home in a covenant enhanced community, you should be fully aware of the homeowner's association and the rules governing the community.
Florida laws allow certain time periods to rescind from contracts when purchasing a condo in a condominium association but does not have the same resicion period for single family homes in a neighborhood. Prior to entering into a contract for a residential property, you should be aware of and have reviewed the HOA documents relevant to the community.
The most relevant HOA documents you should receive and review include:
- Covenants and Restrictions
- Rules and Regulations
- Community By-laws
- Annual Meeting Minutes
- Financial Information
But how do you find these documents?
There is unfortunately not a great public database to collect these documents, and you must be aware that these documents can be voted on and changed. Because we manage several neighborhoods, we get this call a lot so we have some tips for you.
- Legally, it is the responsbility of the property owner to provide a prospective buyer with the homeowner's association documents and other pertinent information. The best place to get these documents is from the property.
There are several ways you can look up rules for a covenant enhanced community!
- Many HOA management companies have these documents and some of them are available online. You can find these by searching google and including HOA with the subdivision name.
Our company manages 30 local home and condo associations in the Pensacola area. Each of our communities has a website with the relevant documents you need uploaded to the website. You can find a list of local Homeowner and Condo Associations Realty Masters managers here: http://pensacolarealtymasters.com/homeowners-association-condo-associations-realty-masters-of-fl
- Realtors are another great resource! We have access to the Pensacola Multiple Listing Service (or MLS) which stores pertinent documents related to transactions. An experienced realtor can identify properties that have sold recently in the same HOA or condominium community and locate a copy of the covenants and/or the association manager.
Don't know which community a property is located in? Or if there is an active HOA? One of the best ways to find out is to visit the Escambia or Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser, search the property address, and find the subdivision name in the legal description.
- Once you have the name of the subdivision, visit the Florida Division of Corporations Website to search the subdivision name. Here, you will find a list of active corporations across the entire state. You can identify the corportation easily by viewing the addresses associated with the "Registered Agent" and/or "Officers." Keep in mind, there may be several similarly named communities across the state of Florida, however, only likely one in the Pensacola area. Additionally, you will most likely find the words Condo Association, Owners Association, or Homeowners Association in the corporation name.
While the documents are not stored on this website, it does typically show the community association manager and/or the board of directors for the community. Often you can google these contacts to find a phone number, email, or website, or at minimum their address so inquiries can be made.
As many associations have a company that handles their affairs, a company name is likely to appear for easy contact.
If you find a community name, but see it is inactive, it's likely that the association was dissolved, but it's best to verify with the title company. You should never sign a contract to move into a HOA neighborhood without reading the rules that govern the community.
Let us know if you have any questions!
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