2014 HOA/COA Leadership Seminar
 

Supporting Homeowners & Condo Association Communities 

Prince William County values the volunteers who serve on boards or committees of community associations.  We applaud their efforts to make their community a quality place for all its residents.  In support of the Common Interest Communities of our County, the Neighborhood Services Division of the Department of Public Works offers guidance, fields questions, lends assistance and support, and provides educational events for enhanced knowledge and skills.

The Condominium/HOA Database
 
Neighborhood Services maintains a database of condominiums, HOAs and neighborhood groups in the County. Listing in the database is strictly voluntary, and benefits the organization by linking board committee members to peers in other neighborhoods, while also providing up-to-date contact information on common interest communities to the public. 

Frequently Asked Questions

"What is the relationship between Prince William County and my HOA?"
 
The County has no authority over condominiums or homeowners associations, but can assist with governance questions.  In addition, the county can provide reference materials and guidance.
 
"I have a complaint about my community association. Who do I call?"
 
Neighborhood Services is the first contact you should make (nsd@pwcgov.org or 703-792-7018). If staff cannot resolve your issue, the State of Virginia staffs the Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman which will work with you (CICOmbudsman@dpor.virginia.gov or 804-367-2941).
 
"Our association board would rather have the County handle property maintenance. Is this the right approach?"
 
While the County is available to enforce property maintenance ordinances, those ordinances are not as stringent as the rules of community associations. There are other benefits to the HOA or condominium that enforces its rules, and negative consequences for those that do not. Read Why HOAs and Condos Should Attempt to Enforce Property Maintenance Rules.
 
The Basics of HOAs and Condominiums
 
A general term for condominium and homeowner associations is "common interest community." A community association is a group of owners who have chosen to enter into a legally-binding relationship to provide community-based preservation, maintenance and enhancement of their homes and property. Owners have agreed to be governed by the community association, paying mandatory, lien-based assessments for the operation and maintenance of the association. In return, the association provides for the governance, business and communal aspects of the association.
 
Community associations are different from other neighborhood associations in that membership in a condo/HOA is NOT voluntary once the property has been purchased. If you are not sure if you live in a community association or not, read about the differences between neighborhood associations and homeowner associations. So that there is no confusion, a common interest community will be referred to as a "condominium" or "HOA," or "condo/HOA" for short. 

The Benefits to Living in a HOA or Condominium Association

Prince William County recognizes that common interest community associations have governing authority separate and different from the County. Condominiums and HOAs have the ability to impose standards of property maintenance higher than the County is able to do, given state law. They also have means of enforcement provided in their covenants, bylaws and rules. Developments run by community associations are usually more successful in preventing neighborhood deterioration and most owners like the quality of life in a community association. Because of this, Prince William County places a high value on condominiums and HOAs and has worked to incorporate them in new residential developments. 

PWC Offers Education for HOA/Condo Boards, Owners and Community Managers

The boards of directors that run condominiums and HOAs are made up of owners who have volunteered to take on considerable responsibility for the benefit of the community. The effectiveness of condos and HOAs depends on these volunteers. Should the community association become ineffective, the neighborhood may loose its ability to prevent deterioration to the higher standard of the HOA. Property values may decrease. Owners will have to depend on the County for enforcement of minimal property maintenance codes. This results in frustration on the part of the owners and additional resources required from the County. Therefore, a great deal of effort is made by PWC's Neighborhood Services Division to see that condo/HOA leaders have the tools they need to sustain their associations. 

Neighborhood Group Support

Some condo/HOA groups need occasional coaching or direction to appropriate resources. Neighborhood Services is able to provide this service. Please contact Neighborhood Services at 703-792-7018 or e-mail the Neighborhood Coordinator at nsd@pwcgov.org.  

Educational Materials

Publications have been created to help condo/HOA leaders and members. Due to the economy, some owners in HOAs and condominiums have questions about their unfinished developments. Browse through Publications of Interest to Neighborhoods for other topics such as HOA / Condominium Transition Information and HOA Common Area Transition Flowchart. Neighborhood News features topics of interest to communities; articles may be reprinted in association newsletters with proper citation. Residents may subscribe to the newsletter through eNotifications.