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Frequently Asked Questions Our list of the most frequently asked questions

> Board of Directors

Q: What if my past Board of Directors already registered my community but did not turn over the account, name, and password during the turnover of Boards from one to another?
You will need to go through a mini-verification process again. The easiest way is to produce a signed copy of the minutes to Verification@ratemyhoa.org which identifies your Board Member status. Or, the last registered Board Member can send a verification email stating the change in officer position. Last, you may request verification directly from the existing Members of an HOA. At least 55 percent of its members must acknowledge your request.
Q: If I’m a Board Member of an HOA, can I sign up as an individual homeowner, too?
Yes. You may sign up as an individual property owner, and it's wise to register yourself and all Board Members, too. This provides accessibility to respond to complaints and make official post on behalf of the Board within forums. The Beats content are specific to Members and also Board of Directors. If you are logged on as a Member, you might miss advice designed to add more leadership within an HOA, for example.
Q: Does The Board of Directors have to pay to respond to a complaint.
No. Any Board can respond to a complaint free of charge, but the Board of Directors must first register the HOA in question.
Q: Does it cost to register your HOA?
No. There are no charges to register your Board of Directors with RatemyHOA.org. However, portions of this website and it's tools are part of a paid membership program--the only exception is the Security Forum.   Certain areas and features of this website are free to your Board of Director, such as The Complaint Center, and there is limited versus full access posting within the community forum, as well. Once again, other tools and services may have fees.

> Business Sponsors

Q: What is the purpose of a Business Sponsor?
The purpose of a business sponsor is to create beneficial bridges between their company and local Homeowner Associations within a five mile radius.
Q: If I register for the business listing where will it appear?
The listing will appear on each HOA's Main Community Page, within the selected radius, under the specialist tab or in the company directories.

> Complaint Center

Q: Will members of the public or other HOAs be able to see the written version of a complaint?
No. The written version of a complaint can only be viewed by the individual who filed and the Board of Directors.
Q: Why can I only file a complaint under the five categories in which I have already rated?
The main reason is that every complaint will revolve around the five categories: the Board of Directors, The Architectural Review Committee, Management, Governing Document, and the Friendliness of the Community. Any other type of complaint is not meant for this website!
Q: What if the Board of Directors refuses to respond to my complaint, what will happen?
If the Board of Directors of your HOA refuses to respond, the unresolved complaint will count against the overall score for the community.   As a result, the low grade will eventually encourage a respond once the grade becomes associated with the  HOA, in both public and private venues.
Q: What if I file a complaint and my Board is not registered?
We will do everything in our power to encourage your Board to cooperate:  we will send them letters and post cards explaining that the lack of response has lowered the community's overall grade.   Understand that you can help insure the Board's response by getting as many Members of your HOA to join.  Together we are strong....
Q: What if I am not satisfied with the response from my Board of Directors?
Understand, that there is a difference between what the Board of Directors would like to do and what they must enforce.  The Board of Directors is governed by CC&Rs which in essence is contractual and must be unilaterally applied. Sometime the solutions can only be accomplished by joining with other neighbors changing  your governing documents. Every HOAs has an instrument by which to change the Governing Documents.   Generally, it is located in the by-law. If you have filed a complaint because you failed to pay your dues, realize the complaint section of this website is not a place to take action. On the other hand, if you paid your dues and the Management Company or Board is screwing up, you have every right to file a complaint. Try working the forums and then encourage other Members to join you in amending your HOA CC&R's.  
Q: What if I am a Board member who is responding to a complaint, do I have to pay?
No. You may register your Board and respond to your Members' complaint free of charge.  There is no cost associated with this process.  You may also use certain parts of the community forum, free of charge.
Q: My HOA received a complaint. As a member of The board of Directors, how do I respond?
First you must register your Board of Directors. Click on the Board Members Link at the top of the page. Once you fill out the required data, your HOA will be verified by the following two methods: (1) Annual report filed with the state or Article of Incorporation or (2) the Management Company or by an actual Members of the HOA that you direct.
Q: Is there a limit to how many complaints I can file?
No. There is no limit; however, if you abuse the complaint system with the intent of being malicious, you will be limited to one complaint at a time. Best advice, become someone who finds solutions and not someone who sharpens an axe.
Q: If I’m a developer, can I respond to a complaint?
Yes. You can respond to a complaint, but you must register as if you where a Board of Director.
Q: If I’m a developer, can a homeowner file a complaint?
Yes. However, if the complaint is related to the construction of the individual's home, the complaint will be removed. If the complaint is rated to the Five Categories, the complaint will stand. Remember, only the Board of Directors and the Member who filed the complaint will see the nature of the complaint.   The public and other Members of the HOA will only see a numerical total of the complaints filed or resolved.

> Forums

Q: Why can I not post in HOA Related Issue forum?
Allowing only HOA's Board of Directors, should they choose to participate, to post inside this Forum guarantees that all communication is authentic.  
Q: What the best way to get kicked out of any forum?
Simply put, don't be disrespectful or use expletives. The forum is also not a spring board for MLM or other business opportunities.
Q: If I’m a renter, can I participate in the community forums?
Yes. You may participate in the community forums.
Q: If I’m a Board Member, how do I post inside The HOA Related Issues Forum?
Being able to post in The HOA Related Issue Forums is part of a paid service. To use the HOA Related Forum, you must first register as a Member of your Board and then select which services best suits your needs.

> Membership Sign-up

Q: When I sign up, how will you verify my identify and other members of my HOA?
Your identity will be verified by either a Member of the existing HOA community or via your local property appraiser office.  No exceptions.  If you desire, you can opt to be one of the Community Verification Officers: your responsibility will be to vouch or challenge new membership requests.
Q: When I join, will I have instant access to the website?
No. You must go through the verification process and be verified as an active member of the HOA in question before any access is granted. As a result, the verification process will take 24-72 hours. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we want to ensure a private and safe place for Members of an HOA to solve problems.
Q: What if my HOA is part of a Master Association, which one should I join?
Both. You will select your Master Association first and then select your individual HOA. For example, the Master Association followed by HOA's name: Stone Brook East/River Creek HOA.
Q: What if I’m the developer and my development is rated prior to turnover, can I become a member of Ratemyhoa.org?
Absolutely. The property in question will eventually be deed restricted and a Board of Directors implemented. As the developer, you have the same ability to use Ratemyhoa.org just like an active Board of Directors. So register your development as if you were a Board Member and take control.
Q: What if I purchase a home inside a development but the builder has not turned control over to the homeowners, can I become a member of Ratemyhoa.org?
Yes. The property in question will eventually be deed restricted and a Board of Directors implemented.
Q: What if I live in a Community Development District (CDD), can I become a member of Ratemyhoa.org?
Yes. A CDD is a planned deed restricted community where the builder receives borrowed funding from the City or County in order to build new infrastructures within developments such as roads, lights, sewer, and drainage. In return, the borrowed funds are repaid by the homeowner in the form of a property tax.
Q: What do I do if I was disapproved during the verification process?
You may send an email to verification@ratemyhoa.org stating why you where wrongly disapproved. Please, include any documentation which suggests you live in the particular HOA in question.
Q: Is this website free for my Board of Director?
Certain portion of the website are free to your Board of Directors, such as The Complaint Center, and there is limited posting within the community forum.  Other tools and services may have fees.
Q: If I’m a renter and I live in an HOA, can I become a member Ratemyhoa.org?
Yes. You can join and become a member of Ratemyhoa.org; however, you must indicate your rental status when signing up. If you do not, it will constitute an automatic denial of membership. We will verify your status with the actual property owner or another member of the community.
Q: If I’m a Board Member of an HOA, can I sign up as an individual homeowner?
Yes. You may sign-up as an individual property owner; however, it would be wise to create a account specifically for the Board, too. Registering the Board of Directors will allow you to formally respond to complaints and the ability to post inside the HOA Related Issue forum.

> Rating System

Q: Will anyone see how I rated each category?
No. The only person who will see how you rated each individual category is you; the Board will only see a collective numerical value of how the community, as a whole, has rated each of The Five Major Category.
Q: Why should I rate my HOA?
The rating system is designed to assist in identifying problematic areas, it promotes necessary changes, and also holds the people who govern HOAs accountable.  
Q: What should I consider when rating the overall communications of our community documents?
When rating the overall communications of community, you should consider how the information flows from the Board of Directors to the community and back again. Is there a process that promotes understanding and awareness within the community? Is there an established method of making every Member feel a part of the group and well-informed? Five Star Example:  There are communication tools such as newsletters, bulletins, forums, annual functions promoting community spirit, and HOA meeting which give individual property owners time to speak. Bottom line, is there any open dialogue? One Star Example:  None of the above. The above provides some guidance. You have the power to rate this category based on your own opinion and criteria.
Q: What should I consider when rating the Management of my Community?
The management of the community generally rests in the hands of a Management Company; however, sometimes the management is done by individual Members of the community. It is important to understand that a Management Company's job is  to assist and give guidance to the Board. They are heavily involve with day-to-day business, billing, and enforcement of general deed restrictions of the community. As a result, they are often not loved by some individual property owners. This is not the place to grind an ax. When rating the Manage Company or management of your HOA, you should ask yourself these questions: do you receive you payment information and notice in a timely fashion, do they treat you with respect and dignity when dealing with an issue, and are they prompt in solving problems? Five Star Example:  They are attentive, friendly, timely, and helpful. One Star Example:  They are rude, use harassment, and do not help when needed. The above provides guidance. You have the power to rate this category based on your own opinion and criteria.
Q: What should I consider when rating the friendliness of the community?
When rating the friendliness of the community, you should consider the following: do you speak with your neighbors, do people within the community wave and say hello, do you easily communicate with neighbors, and do you and your neighbors watch out for each others? Five Star Example:  You know at least five neighbors on your street or within your community and can contact them via email or phone. From time to time, you and your neighbors have social functions or wave at one another and say hello. The people are approachable. If you see someone suspicious within the community, you call authorities. Last and most important, if a neighbor is in need, other neighbors chip in and assist. One Star Example: You don't know anyone. You have no idea who lives next door. The community and neighbors are always in bad moods and avoid each other. The above provides guidance. You have the power to rate this category based on your own opinion and criteria.
Q: What should I consider when rating my board of directors?
When rating the Board of Directors, you should consider the following: Do they hold meeting and keep you informed, do they keep up with community appearance, and do they treat each homeowner with deserved respect and dignity? Five Star Example:  The Board of Director of your community should listen to the wants, needs, and desires of the community. They hold meetings on a regular bases and display a general attitude of caring about the individual and community. When decisions are made, they give ample explanations. One Star Example:  The Board of Director of your community never listens to the wants, needs, and desires of the community. They never hold meetings and/or display a general attitude of "if you don't like it, move somewhere else." They abuse their power, harass homeowners, and refuse to help homeowners when needed. The above provides guidance. You have the power to rate this category based on your own opinion and criteria.
Q: What should I consider when rating my Architectural Review Board?
When rating the Architectural Review Board, you should consider your last overall experience. Did they respond quickly to your request and give ample explanation if your request is denied? Was your project approved based on the guidelines or was  the project selectively denied? Five Star Example:  The ARB approved your applications within seven to ten days after submitting the ARB request form. They approved your project based on guidelines or applied common sense to special situations. One Star Example:  The ARB took over 25 days to approve your applications or never responded. The decision was based on a Committee Member's opinion or as a favor to a neighbor. The above provides guidance. You have the power to rate this category based on your own opinion and criteria.
Q: What is the purpose of the rating system?
The purpose of the rating system is to assist the individual homeowner in developing a distinct voice within their HOA. Once rated, The Board of Directors should now be able to identify the wishes of their Members more effectively.
Q: What if I am a builder and my development is rated, can I register?
Yes. You may register as a Board Member, but that account will belong to the community. Once elections occur, you must give this account information and password to a chosen Board Member.  There are no exceptions.

> The Beats/Industry Leader