The Kansas Homes Association Act's official name is the Uniform Common Interest Owners Bill of Rights Act. The Kansas Legislature approved the bill in 2010 and it went into effect January 1, 2011. It is the first comprehensive law to govern the dealings between Kansas homeowners and their common interest communities (CIOs). The law introduces sweeping changes to the way in which homeowner associations are held accountable to their residents.
Homeowner Association Background
Ever since the first so-called "railroad communities" sprang up in suburban America, homeowner associations (HOA) have worked to ensure the peaceful, collaborative and smooth running of communities with a common or shared interest. Although the first developments often had the shared interests of restricting residency based on race or religion, modern associations evolved to accommodate everyday lifestyle choices about pets, hedge heights and noise, for example. The new law governs HOA business with residents.
About the Kansas Uniform Common Interest Owners Bill of Rights Act
The new law brings in sweeping changes and stricter rules for common interest communities, generally meaning housing divisions, condominium developments and townhomes. As of January 1, 2011, homeowner associations are legally required to keep comprehensive records, hold open meetings for all residents and give them more of a voice on HOA issues. Homeowners and residents must be able to access any association documents during normal business hours. All communities with more than 12 units must comply with the regulations.
Running a Housing Association
Residents elect nominated neighbors to a board of directors as well as other committees dealing with specific areas, tasks and events. These volunteers meet regularly to discuss issues arising from local neighborhood life and solve problems where necessary. This includes disputes with neighbors, problems with noise and financial reporting. The act had been introduced to clarify the various responsibilities, accountability and duties of the volunteers serving the community through an association.
Homes Associations of Kansas City Organization (HAKC)
Established in 1944, HAKC serves 51 Kansas homeowner associations as well as catering to some Missouri associations. The organization helps HOAs implement the new law and includes comprehensive information about the legislation on its website. HAKC is a nonprofit organization and provides administrative support for the volunteers working on the HOA boards and committees. Services include monitoring and managing neighborhood complaints, preparing or advising on monthly financial reports and welcoming new residents.
Effects of the New Legislation
Experts in Kansas law quoted in the Wichita Business Journal say that the stricter rules and greater accountability could affect people's willingness to volunteer for roles in homeowner associations. A volunteer secretary, for example, must now produce HOA documents to residents any time during normal business hours. Prior to the new law, a secretary's commitment extended only to the few hours of the monthly meeting, and no legal obligation existed for providing homeowners access to information.
- Homes Associations of Kansas City: Services
- Wichita Business Journal: Homeowners' associations subject to tougher regulations with new law: October 29, 2010: by Josh Heck
- Info Please: Quick Facts from the U.S. Census Bureau: Kansas
- Findlaw: History of Housing Associations: Clayton & McEvoy, P.C.
- Homes Associations of Kansas City: About Us
- Photo Credit American Dream image by ne_fall_photos from Fotolia.com
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