) - The vast majority of the 65 million Americans who live in condominiums and homeowners associations are satisfied with their communities, according to a national survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Foundation for Community Association Research.
Ninety percent of community association residents rate their overall association experience as positive (64 percent) or neutral (26 percent), with only 10 percent expressing dissatisfaction.
* 90 percent of residents say association board members serve the best interests of their communities.
* 83 percent say they get along well with the immediate neighbors.
* 83 percent say their community managers provide value and support to residents and their associations.
* 70 percent of residents say their association rules protect and enhance property values; 4 percent say the rules harm property values.
"This affirms that people who live in condominiums and homeowners associations are overwhelmingly pleased with their communities," says Tom Skiba, CEO of Community Associations Institute
(CAI). "That level of satisfaction compares very favorably with American attitudes toward other institutions like government, industry and even our public schools."
Room for improvement
Skiba acknowledges that all associations do not function as well as they should. He says discontent can be caused by a number of factors, including unreasonable association boards, residents who disregard rules they have agreed to follow and difficult financial circumstances for the association and individual homeowners.
"Disagreements and conflict are inevitable," Skiba says. "Just as there are poorly governed communities, many associations must contend with difficult and intransigent residents, including owners who refuse to follow established rules or pay their fair share for utilities, services and amenities provided by the association."
Keys to success
Skiba says the keys to successful associations are clear expectations, open communication between residents and association leaders, transparency in governance, strong professional management, dedicated volunteers and adherence to best practices for association governance and management.
Many time-tested best practices are delineated in "From Good to Great," a free, downloadable document that includes CAI's Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities and a model code of ethics for community association boards. www.caionline.org/good2great