Are you considering purchasing a property that has a homeowner’s association or condo association? Before you consider renting or buying a home in a covenant-enhanced community, you should be aware of and fully comprehend the rules that govern the community.
Florida law allows for certain disclosures to be made to home buyers when purchasing properties that have a homeowner’s association (HOA) or a condo association (COA). You should always request the governing documents of any association prior to purchasing your home. If you are selling your house, check the folder the title company gave you when you closed to possibly locate the documents. Unfortunately, many find themselves unable to locate the appropriate documents in time since the real estate market can move so quickly. Here are a few of our best tips on how to locate these documents.
Check with a HOA Management Company
If you know for a fact that the HOA or COA is professionally managed, check with some of the other homeowner association management companies in town to find out if they manage it or if they may know who does. If you happen to know someone who resides in the community, you can ask them who manages the community and they can surely point you in the right direction.
Conduct a Quick Internet Search
Sometimes, a quick Google search will reveal an association webpage, Facebook page, or a page on some other public forums like NextDoor, that will provide you with the information you need to contact the members of the association or Board of Directors.
Check County Records
Often times, the county has a record of these governing documents online. Always check with either Escambia County or Santa Rosa County if you are searching for a homeowner's association in the Pensacola area.
Search the Division of Corporations
All associations should be registered with the Florida Department of State Divisions of Corporations. You can search their website here. While you will not find the documents here, you may find the contact listed as the registered agent or on the annual report. This will also show if the HOA or COA is still active or has been dissolved and changed to inactive which can happen from time to time.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the owner of the property to provide the buyer or tenant with the governing documents and other necessary HOA information. It is best practice to be very familiar with all guidelines in order to make for a most peaceful environment and to enjoy your new home and new neighborhood to the fullest!