Poll: Community Association Residents Are Overwhelmingly Satisfied

Jun 10, 2014


Americans who make their homes in homeowners associations and condominiums are overwhelmingly satisfied with their communities, according to national survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Foundation for Community Association Research.

Almost two-thirds of the 65 million owners and renters in common-interest communities rate their overall association experience as positive, while only 10 percent express some level of dissatisfaction. Twenty-six percent are neutral on the question.

"I'd like to meet a local, state or national politician who wouldn't want such approval ratings," says Thomas Skiba, CAE, chief executive officer of the Foundation and Community Associations Institute (CAI). "All institutions have issues-our schools, businesses, government and the entertainment industry-but I think it's safe to say community associations fare very well in comparison."

The March-April 2014 survey also revealed that:

  • 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.
  • 92 percent say they are on friendly terms with their association board members (the homeowners who are elected by their neighbors to govern the community),
  • 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; only 4 percent say the rules harm property values.

"This affirms four previous national surveys showing that the people who live in condominiums and homeowners associations are overwhelmingly pleased with their communities," says Skiba. "More than anything else, this survey affirms the dedication of homeowner leaders and community association managers who work to build and sustain successful communities."

The typical community association-whether a condominium, cooperative or homeowners association-is governed by homeowner volunteers who are elected by their fellow owners to set policy for the community. Smaller associations with limited budgets may rely on resident volunteers for various management responsibilities, such as accounting functions and assessment collection, while larger associations contract for the services of a professional community manager or association management company.

More than two million Americans serve as volunteers on community association boards and committees.

"Not all associations operate as well as they should, and we're never happy when we see a community in the news for the wrong reasons," Skiba says, "but at least we know struggling communities are the exception to the rule.

CAI says discontent in associations 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, which became especially critical for many homeowners and associations during the housing and economic downturn.

"Any number of dissatisfied people is too many, but that's an ongoing challenge for any organization, business or enterprise," says Skiba. "Disagreements and conflict are inevitable, but it's important to remember that issues in community associations cut both ways. Just as there are some poorly governed communities, many associations must contend with very difficult and intransigent residents, including some owners who refuse to follow established rules or pay their fair share for utilities, services and amenities provided by the association."

Skiba says the keys to successful associations are open communication between residents and association leaders, a commitment to transparency in governance, 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 initiative, Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities.

View complete survey results in CAI's free, downloadable brochure

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