Do owners have the right not to pay assessments if they don't like what is happening at Mueller
The governing documents require the payment of assessments and are an independent part of the contract entered into by the owner upon purchasing the property. An owner cannot simply choose not to pay assessments. Failure to pay assessments, even if the owner doesn’t like what is going on, will subject the owner to personal liability for the unpaid assessments and may result in a foreclosure of the owner’s home. The Associations provide members with many
ways to get involved, serve in decision-making positions, and influence the affairs and decisions of the Associations and the community.
Generally speaking, what are the responsibilities of the Community manager?
The guiding document on the responsibilities of the manager is the contract between the Associations and the manager. The manager takes direction from the Board of Directors and generally fulfills the role of managing agent to the Associations and Board, as well as providing administrative support to the Associations and the Board of Directors and collecting assessments and fees on behalf of the Associations. The manager is responsible for keeping the records of the Associations (minutes, corporate report, financial statements, owners' files, contracts, maps, etc.). The manager is also responsible for inspecting for maintenance needs and supervising maintenance activities and for ensuring compliance with rules or other legal requirements. The manager will typically provide advice to the Board as to when to seek legal counsel.
Generally, how are the levels of assessments determined?
Estimated expenses in the approved budget allow the Associations to establish the annual assessments necessary to operate the community. Under the Covenants, the total budgeted expenses, less any surplus in the budget from prior years and any income anticipated from sources other than assessments, are set at an equal rate per “Assessment Unit”. A property within Mueller may be assigned one or more Assessment Units; this number, multiplied by the rate, equals the unit’s “Base Assessment.”
Generally, how does insurance operate in the Associations? What does the Association insure?
The Board of Directors purchases insurance annually for the Associations that covers items required under the governing documents, include certain buildings and grounds designated as Service Areas, personal property of the Associations, general liability for the common areas, including amenities, fidelity coverage for the monies of the Associations, and professional liability coverage. The governing documents dictate what coverage the Board should purchase and for what coverage the individual owner is responsible.
It is important for owners to maintain their own insurance to cover their property. The unit owner needs to purchase liability insurance for anything that occurs within their property. Owners should always seek the help of a qualified insurance professional when determining what coverage and limits are needed or recommended.
How are the Associations affected by state law in Texas?
There are three state statutes that specifically affect community associations. Title 11 of the Texas Property Code governs restrictive covenants in general, whether applicable to a master planned community, a condominium community or some other type of common interest community. The Texas Uniform Condominium Act governs condominium communities and associations and may be found in the Texas Property Code, Section 82.001, et seq. And, Section 22.001, et seq. of the Texas Business Organizations Code governs nonprofit corporations such as
the Associations. There is also a broad variety of state laws that affect the operation of associations, such as state insurance, labor, land use, foreclosure, debt collection, and many other laws.
What are the governing documents?
The governing documents refer to the Mueller Master Community Covenant, the Mueller EC/TC Community Covenant, the Mueller Mixed-Use Community Covenant, any supplemental or subordinate covenants, and any amendments or supplements thereto (collectively referred to as the “Covenants”). They also include the Community Fee Covenant, the map, plats and plans, the Articles of Incorporation, the Bylaws, and any Rules and Regulations, policies or procedures, including any architectural or design guidelines or other documents that govern
the operation of the Community and determine the rights and responsibilities of
owners/members. Any owner may obtain the governing documents from the Association management.
An Association's Covenant is at the top of the governing document 'pyramid' and delineates the basic powers of the Association. The Association's Bylaws explain how the Association governs and operates, such as when meetings are to be held and what quorums are necessary. The Articles of Incorporation create and maintain the Association as an entity and separate legal person. The Rules and Regulations, Mueller Design Book and Association policies are often
adopted by the Board to clarify instances where the Covenant is silent or ambiguous. Rules and Regulations and guidelines and policies can be the most flexible or easily changed of the governing documents.
What are the owners’ and the Associations’ responsibilities for exterior maintenance?
Responsibilities for exterior maintenance are detailed in the governing documents. The following is a general summary:
Single-family homes: Generally, owners are responsible for all maintenance of the exterior of the home and landscaping, and the Associations are not responsible for any exterior maintenance.
Row Homes / Town homes: Generally, owners are responsible for the windows, doors and garage doors as well as all portions of the unit except the roof and exterior siding. The Associations are responsible for any area designated as a Service Area, including the exterior of the building including the roof and siding.
Condominiums: Generally, owners are responsible for the windows and doors of their unit and the interior of the air space from the drywall inward, together with all fixtures and utilities existing within the unit or servicing the unit exclusively. The Associations are responsible for all exterior maintenance, with the exception of the windows and doors that service each unit. If a condominium property has inside lobbies, corridors, elevators, etc., these are generally also the responsibility of the Associations.
What Association records are accessible to the various owners?
Generally, all records of the Associations are accessible to owners. A few exceptions to this broad right of inspection exist such as for legally privileged information. Provisions in both the law and the governing documents detail how an owner may access Association records. Typically, the Associations’ records will be in the custody of the manager.
What do assessments pay for?
Generally speaking, assessments cover Master Community facilities, such as pool maintenance, recreational amenities; landscaping of common areas; insurance; common fencing; entry signage and lighting; the services of the community manager; a bookkeeper and/or accountant to prepare the annual tax return; and attorney fees of the Associations.
What is the difference between the Mueller POA, the MCA and Neighborhood Association?
The Mueller Property Associations, also known as the POA, HOA or Mueller Community Associations are the same thing. As a resident at Mueller you belong to at least two Associations, the Mueller Master Community Association and the Mueller Mixed Use Association. This is why you often see an (s) when we are discussing the Mueller Community Associations. Membership in the Associations is mandatory. When you buy a lot or unit in the Community, you have entered into a contract and obligated yourself to membership in the Associations and to following and obeying all rules and regulations and other conditions and restrictions contained in the Governing Documents.
Without the Associations, the construction of the amenities planned for Mueller, such as the pools, trails and parks, etc. and the operation and maintenance of roads, landscaping and infrastructure within Mueller would not be possible.
There is also a Mueller Neighborhood Association or MNA, which is a voluntary group of Mueller Residents that have formed the Neighborhood Association.