A Homeowner Association and a Property Owners’ Association sound similar, and they can be, but they can also function very differently depending on the situation. The following outlines the main differences between an HOA and a POA.

HOAs Defined In an HOA, homeowners become members of the association board and work to better the particular community in which they live.  A person must own and occupy the property in order to be an acting member of an HOA, and the services offered by an HOA are exclusively for residential homeowners.  The purpose of an HOA is to enforce and maintain community standards, and membership is generally required if you live within the community.  The HOA has a list of rules and regulations that dictate how the community is run, and homeowners must abide by the guidelines. In order to maintain the community standards, there are rules in place for things such as yard maintenance, outdoor color schemes, parking, and so forth.  Membership dues are required and in exchange, an HOA is responsible for managing all common areas of the community such as parks, pools, and workout facilities.

POAs Defined POAs can be synonymous with HOAs, but they can also be larger and broader.  A POA is all about real estate – it can be comprised of nothing but empty lots, but is most often comprised of property managers, business owners, and homeowners who occupy a given area.  A POA is generally centered on a landmark, for example a lake, park, or golf course, in hopes that people will buy the land because of its location or amenities.  The purpose of a POA isn’t to regulate community standards; the purpose is to boost and support the local real estate industry.  Because a POA is concerned with driving real estate, it will often provide educational, legislative, and/or networking services to property owners.

A POA may be concerned about the longer term and the larger picture than an HOA may be, and will not necessarily have the same regulations as an HOA might have.  Not all POAs have rules and regulations like HOAs do, but some are , in fact , run exactly like an HOA.  However, this varies from case to case.  Each type of association helps to regulate a piece of property, but the type of property and the exact services offered differs between each.

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