Community Association Governance Guidelines 

Many elements of community association governance are subject to interpretation, and that's true in virtually any human endeavor. Still, there are basic expectations that can be defined and achieved. With this objective in mind, the Center for Community Association Volunteers (CCAV) developed the Community Association Governance Guidelines—12 principles that can help homeowner volunteer leaders build better communities.

Adopted by the CAI Board of Trustees, the guidelines can help community association volunteer leaders create and sustain an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. This will increase harmony, reduce conflict and build stronger, more successful communities.

While fair and effective governance is a critical component of any successful community, homeowners and non-owner residents have responsibilities as well. Purchasing in an association constitutes a contractual agreement between the homeowners, their neighbors and the association. This means that homeowners have agreed to pay their assessments in full and on time, comply with their association's governing documents and maintain their properties according to established standards.

In return, homeowners should be given every opportunity to take advantage of all the community has to offer. Residents also have the right to expect their volunteer boards to govern fairly, responsibly and in accordance with their community's documents and state and federal laws. And residents have the responsibility—if only in their best individual interest—to be involved in their community, vote in elections, volunteer for special projects, serve on committees or even seek a seat on the association board.

Many community associations rely on the expertise of professional community managers or the services of management companies. While governance is largely the responsibility of elected board members, these homeowner leaders should work closely with their management professionals to ensure that actions and communications are consistent, coordinated and mutually reinforced.

Download the Governance Guidelines

Rights and Responsibilities

CAI also encourages community association boards to go beyond the Community Association Governance Guidelines. One way to do that is by adopting Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities, a series of 42 principles and practices developed by CAI to promote harmony and minimize discontent. The process of adopting Rights and Responsibilities can be a catalyst for communication and dialogue throughout a community, the kind of constructive interaction that facilitates awareness, builds consensus and promotes greater community involvement and unity. Countless associations have formally adopted the principles; many more use them for guidance. Learn more.

Download Rights and Responsibilities

About CCAV

CAI recognizes that homeowner volunteers ultimately are responsible for building community, meeting the expectations of neighbors and protecting property values. CAI created the Center for Community Association Volunteers (CCAV) to support board members and others who take leadership roles in their communities. Learn more.

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