The State of Georgia actually has two forms of associations for subdivisions with fee simple homes: Homeowner Associations (HOAs) and Property Owners Associations (POAs). They are similar in many respects, except that a Property Owners Association is created by (the 1994) statute.
Prior to 1993, Georgia law at the Official Code of Georgia – Code Section 44‑5‑60 generally provided that a community’s CCRs (Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions) automatically expire after twenty years. One of the extremely important benefits of the POA is that it has a provision that states Code Section 44‑5‑60 shall not apply to any covenants contained in any instrument submitted to the POA.
Also, even though some Georgia courts have held that covenants in communities that were recorded prior to 1993 do not receive the benefit of the new 1993 law, there are cases where the obligation to pay assessments does not expire.
The Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act (“POA”) was adopted in 1994 to expand the powers of homeowners associations. The POA does not, however, apply automatically. Instead, the developer of a community or the members of a community’s homeowners association must “opt-in” to be governed by the POA. The “opt-in” process generally takes place either by the developer when the developer initially creates the declaration of covenants for the community, or by the members of the homeowners association through an amendment to the declaration.
The specific amendment process within a community’s declaration of covenants must be followed for the “opt-in” to occur. Most HOA CCRs provide for the voting of at least 2/3 of all members to enact any amendment to the HOA CCRs.
- After submitting to the POA, the association will no longer be required to file liens at the county courthouse for unpaid assessments or other charges. Instead, the POA creates an automatic statutory lien against a delinquent owner’s lot.
- if the automatic statutory lien is not paid at the closing, the association can proceed against the new owner who will be personally liable for all amounts owed prior to the closing.
- allows the association to charge a late fee of the greater of $10.00 or ten percent (10%) of the amount due, and interest at a rate of ten percent (10%) per annum on unpaid assessments and charges.
- authorizes the recovery of the association’s costs of collection of the delinquent assessments, including reasonable attorney’s fees actually incurred.
- to the extent provided in the declaration of covenants, a board may specifically assess expenses to an owner if the conduct of the owner or the owner’s tenants or guests caused the expense.
- POA also clarifies that all owners and tenants (i.e., people who rent a house in the community from the owner) must comply with all the provisions of the declaration of covenants and the association’s rules and regulations.
- gives the association a statutory power to assess fines against violators and to suspend the common area use rights of violators, provided the ability to fine and suspend are stated in the declaration of covenants.
Source 3: The Georgia POA Act and Your Association.