Top 5 Tips to Form Your Own HOA in Howard County, Maryland

Do you want to start a Howard County, MD HOA? Establishing an entity for your residential community has its requirements, so where do you start? Whether you’re a developer planning a new community or a group of residents seeking more structured governance, setting up an HOA requires thorough planning and understanding of Maryland’s legal landscape.

Simplify this complex process with expert guidance from West Property Management, your partner in creating thriving communities. Ready to transform your community’s vision into reality? Let’s check out 5 crucial tips to form your own HOA with confidence.

1. Understand State and Local Regulations

Before diving into Howard County HOA formation, familiarizing yourself with Maryland’s laws governing homeowners associations is crucial. Howard County, like other regions in Maryland, must adhere to a comprehensive set of regulations to ensure that HOAs operate within legal boundaries. Here is a concise list of key Maryland regulations and laws pertaining to HOAs:

  • Maryland Homeowners Association Act (HOA Act): This foundational legislation outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the association and its members, including bylaws, assessments, architectural guidelines, board meetings, and enforcement of rules​​.
  • Open Meetings Act: Requires HOAs to hold open meetings, ensuring transparency and allowing members to stay informed about the association’s activities​​.
  • Maryland Condominium Act: For HOAs that include condominium units, this act covers governance aspects such as unit owner rights and common elements maintenance​​.
  • Maryland Stormwater Management Act: Imposes regulations on HOAs for controlling runoff and minimizing pollution​​.
  • Maryland Consumer Protection Act: Protects homeowners from unfair and deceptive trade practices, ensuring ethical and transparent interactions​​.
  • Debt Collection Laws: Outlines proper procedures for pursuing delinquent assessments or fees, including notification requirements and limitations​​.
  • Maryland Real Property Code: Governs property management aspects such as leases, evictions, liens, and easements​​.
  • Limitations on Solar Panel Restrictions: Limits unreasonable restrictions on the installation of solar panels​​.
  • Books and Records Access: Requires HOAs to make their records available for examination by lot owners or their authorized agents​​.
  • Late Charges: Defines the conditions under which late charges can be imposed on delinquent assessments​​.

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Understanding these regulations is essential for ensuring that your HOA operates effectively and within legal guidelines. For detailed information and further assistance, consulting with a property management expert or legal advisor familiar with Maryland’s specific requirements is advisable.

2. Draft Clear Governing Documents

The foundation of any effective HOA is its governing documents, including the Declaration, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation. These documents outline the HOA’s rules, responsibilities, and member rights. Precision in drafting these documents prevents future conflicts and ensures smooth operation. Consider professional assistance to navigate the complexities of legal language and requirements.

3. Establish a Budget and Financial Management Plan

An HOA’s financial health is vital to its success. Early in the formation process, develop a comprehensive budget that covers maintenance, emergency funds, and future projects. Implementing a robust financial management plan, including regular audits and transparent reporting, ensures fiscal responsibility and community trust.

4. Elect a Dedicated Board of Directors

The board of directors plays a critical role in managing the HOA’s day-to-day operations and long-term strategy. Elect individuals who are committed, have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, and are aligned with the community’s vision. Regular training and support for board members contribute to effective governance.

5. Partner with a Professional HOA Management Company

Managing a Howard County HOA can be overwhelming. Partnering with a seasoned property management company like West Property Management brings expertise, efficiency, and peace of mind. From financial management to conflict resolution, a professional manager can elevate your HOA’s success.

With the right preparation, knowledge, and partners, you can establish a well-managed association that enhances property values and community living. Ready to take the first step towards a thriving HOA? Contact West Property Management today for a consultation and see how we can help your community succeed.

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{We retained West Property Management to take over managing our brand new HOA. As a brand new builder community, West Property Management had to help manage numerous complicated developer-builder-homeowner transition matters. Despite the often unpredictable and/or complicated tasks that our HOA faced, West Property Management handled these matters in a very “can do” and no-nonsense manner. Their timely approach, expertise and patience with a new, novice Board of Directors also made working with West Property Management productive and positive. The Board continues to enjoy working with them and highly recommend them for property management needs.
Michelle R.

When selecting West Property Management, you can expect professionalism, follow-through, and success in managing your property(ies). It all started with listening to our expectations and consistently delivering superior service and expertise without prompting for our 350 properties; telephone calls and e-mails were tactfully responded whether there was a complaint or a compliment.

When evaluating a property management company, we felt the primary factor was collaboration to learn what we should or should not do to effectively manage processes. The second important factor was the skillful management of suppliers to reduce outstanding receivables and ensure the successful delivery of work products through excellent customer service. West Property Management always displayed a “can-do” attitude and resolved any issues with persistent alacrity.

West Property Management’s impressive knowledge and practical approach we highly recommend irrespective of what level of management you seek. Both Lynn Weymer (our Property Manager) and Chris Westerlund (the owner) were always available to consult on Board matters and always resolved any presented issues. We will continue to work with West Property Management and look forward to our continued partnership.

Patricia F

It was a pleasure working with Chris. He was very professional and went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable and informed every step of the way. I give Chris and West Property Management my highest recommendations and look forward to working with them for all my future property management needs.


West has been such a joy to work with – they’ve brought a new level of professionalism and experience to our HOA and we’re grateful to be working with them!

Mike L.

West Property Management has been so wonderful to work with. Excellent communication and customer service. A professional organization who provides a wonderful personal touch. I’d highly recommend them!

Ji L.

Chris Westerlund and West Property Management were great. Being a realtor, I deal with a lot of property management companies. I reached out to Chris about obtaining HOA resale documents. He was instrumental in getting the documents delivered to me that same day when we needed them in a rush. In addition, he used his resources to find the contact information for the company we had been trying to find for a couple of weeks. I’d highly recommend anyone/business looking for property management services to reach out to Chris and West Property Management!

Kevin W.