Homeowners’ association in Vermont are subject to two different acts. Single-family community HOAs are subject to the Uniform Common Interest Community Act and condo associations must follow the Condominium Ownership Act. Most common interest communities in VT choose to be organized as nonprofit corporations and are therefore also subject to state Nonprofit Law.
Homeowners Association’s Rights and Responsibilities
To start an HOA, the initial declarant or board of directors must adopt and file a community declaration. The declaration must include all the rules and regulations set forth by the association along with a plat describing the boundaries and description of each unit within the community, and the formula for the allocation of votes. These documents must be filed with the town(s) in which the community is located.
Community Maintenance And Management
It is the responsibility of the homeowners’ association to maintain common elements and protect property values within the community. To create a budget for regular maintenance and property management, the HOA has the power to collect regular assessments from homeowners.
If an account becomes delinquent, the HOA may impose late fees or fines on any overdue payments. If the problem persists, the association may place liens on property or, in extreme cases, may even foreclose on the property despite on-time mortgage payments.
The board of directors must maintain detailed community records including:
Financial records such as receipts and expenditures
Minutes of all official meetings
Register of names, addresses, and votes allocated for each member
Original founding documents – declaration, bylaws, plat, etc.
Financial statements and tax returns for the past three years
Most recent annual report delivered to the secretary of state
All community records must be made available to association members within 5 days of a written request.
Property, liability, and fidelity insurance is required and must be maintained by the association board of directors. Property insurance must cover 80% of the cash value of the common elements. The cost of insurance should be included in the regular assessments paid by the homeowners.
An association budget must be prepared annually and presented to homeowners at the annual meeting. Members must be given official notice of any changes made to the budget. A budget is approved if it receives 51% or more of the votes. If a budget is denied, the last budget that was approved will remain in effect.
Homeowners have the right to elect board members and vote on amendments made to community rules and regulations. The allocation of votes is determined by a formula located in the declaration. Each community may have different voting rights.
All voting takes place at member meetings which are to take place annually. Special meetings may also be called by the association president, a majority of the board of directors, or with a petition signed by 20% of the allocated votes. The board of directors must give notice of all meetings at least 10 days, but no more than 60 days, before the meeting is to take place.
Any association member may also attend meetings of the executive board and must be allowed a reasonable opportunity to speak. The board may have a closed meeting only when discussing sensitive matters such as meeting with legal counsel.
Amendments to the declaration can be approved with a 67% vote unless the declaration allows for a lower percentage. Any amendments that are approved must be filed with the town to be valid. Homeowners can terminate a common interest community with an 80% vote.
VT Uniform Common Interest Community Act
To ensure that your community association is being run following all state and local laws, it helps to have a professional on your side. CSM has a team of experienced professionals that have worked with communities in almost every state in the US. Specializing in HOA financial management, we can help your board of directors manage association finances, write and submit documents, and prepare for audits. If you have any questions regarding state HOA laws and regulations, give us a call at (865) 315-7505, contact us online or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.