As a property manager, there are various terms and organizations that you must become familiar with.

This is especially true if you manage properties that fall under another form of management, like a homeowners association (HOA).

Now, although you may very well be familiar with these community associations you may be a little less familiar with the umbrella organization, the master association.

Thus, in this article, we will be discussing everything there is to know about the master association, including what they are and what are the things they control.

To begin, let's go over what the master association actually is.

What Is A Master Association?

A master association is a type of homeowners association (HOA) that is responsible for overseeing and managing a larger community or development.

This type of community association is often created when a developer builds a large community that includes multiple smaller sub-divisions or individual units. In this case, the developer will typically establish a master association to provide overall management and maintenance for the common areas and amenities of the entire community.

Master associations are typically governed by a board of directors, elected by the members of the association. But, what are the roles of these members?

In the next section, we will discuss some of the most important roles of the master association.

Roles Of The Master Association

In this section, we will be discussing some of the various roles that a master association plays in a community.

Setting and Enforcing Rules

One of the primary roles of the master association is to establish and enforce rules and regulations for the community. These rules may pertain to the appearance and upkeep of individual units, as well as the use of common areas and amenities.

For example, the association might have rules regarding the types of plants and trees that can be planted in individual yards, or rules regarding the use of shared spaces like swimming pools or playgrounds.

Upkeep Of Common Areas & Amenities

In addition to setting and enforcing rules, the master association is also responsible for maintaining the common areas and amenities of the community.

This can include hiring landscapers to maintain the grounds, or hiring maintenance staff to keep shared amenities like swimming pools and playgrounds in good working order.

The association may also be responsible for organizing and coordinating events and activities for the community, such as block parties or neighborhood clean-up days.

Community Finances

Another important role of the master association is to manage the finances of the community. This can include collecting dues or assessments from members, as well as managing the association's budget and spending.

The association may also be responsible for setting and enforcing rules regarding the payment of dues and assessments, as well as managing any legal or financial issues that may arise within the community.

Maintaining Governing Documents

Another one of the key responsibilities of a master association is to create and maintain a set of governing documents.

These documents outline the rules and regulations that must be followed by all members of the association, as well as the procedures for enforcing those rules. The master association's governing documents typically include a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws, and rules and regulations.

Now, although the master association has a significant level of authority and responsibility within the community, it is important to note that it is not the only governing body within the development.

In most cases, there will also be smaller sub-associations or individual units that have their own governing bodies and rules. In these cases, the master association may act as an umbrella organization, providing overall guidance and coordination for any smaller sub-association.

However, both the master association and the sub-associations must follow the same rules.

So, now that we know every thing about masters associations, let's discuss some of the pros and cons of having one.

Pros & Cons Of Masters Associations

There are both pros and cons to having a master association in a community. To begin, let's go over some of the pros.

Pros Of Having A Master Association

Some of the potential benefits of a master association include:

  • Improved coordination and communication among the smaller HOAs within the community. A master association can help to ensure that all of the smaller HOAs are working together and following the same rules and regulations. This can help to prevent conflicts and ensure that the community is well-maintained and properly managed.
  • Centralized management of common areas and amenities. A master association can take on the responsibility of managing and maintaining shared areas and amenities, such as pools, parks, and playgrounds. This can help to reduce the workload on the smaller HOAs and ensure that these areas are well-maintained and available for use by all members of the community.

Now, obviously, there are also some cons to having a master association, which we will discuss below.

Cons Of Having A Master Association

Some of the potential drawbacks of having a master association include:

  • Additional costs. In order to fund the operations of the master association, members of the smaller HOAs may be required to pay additional fees. This can be a burden for some members, particularly if they are already paying dues to their individual HOA.
  • Reduced autonomy. With a master association overseeing the operations of the smaller HOAs, there may be less autonomy for the individual HOAs to make their own decisions and manage their own affairs. This can be frustrating for some members who may feel that their voices are not being heard.

Bottom Line

While a master association can provide many benefits, it is important for members of the community to carefully consider the potential drawbacks and make an informed decision about whether a master association is right for their community.

By providing overall management and coordination for a large community, the master association helps to create a sense of community and ensure that the development remains a desirable place to live.

Santiago Aday is a Summa Cum Laude graduate and has a background in software development. As the Marketing Automation Specialist at DoorLoop, Santi loves simplifying the complicated aspects of property management.