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PROPER TERMINOLOGY

Association. When used generically, association is not capitalized. When referring to a specific association, it is capitalized. Example: "There are 50,000 associations in California but the Penny Lane Association is the best."

Board. Like association, board is not capitalized when used generically but capitalized when referring to a specific board. Example: "All boards must follow the Davis-Stirling Act so our Board attends CAI luncheons to learn about the law."

Bylaws. In the early years of the industry, developer lawyers used by laws or by-laws. Now it is a single word without spaces or hyphens: bylaws. The word is not capitalized if used generically. If you refer to a specific set of association bylaws then it can be capitalized. For example, "Most associations still use their original developer-drafted bylaws but we recently restated the Sleepy Hollow Bylaws to get rid of the developer language."

Canceled. The proper spelling of canceled in U.S. English is with one "L". Words such as cancel and travel do not double the final L when using -er, -ed, and -ing. However, over the past 20 years the British spelling, cancelled, has crept into common usage.

CC&Rs. Putting an apostrophe in CC&R's is improper. An apostrophe followed by an "s" signifies a contraction such as "That's my car" or the possessive form of a word such as "Henry's car." CC&Rs are neither possessive nor a contraction; it is an abbreviation for Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. Accordingly, the proper convention is CC&Rs.

Dues. Some argue that it is inappropriate to use the term dues because dues are voluntary, such as membership dues to a health club, while assessments are mandatory, such as those levied by homeowners associations. However, the Oxford English Dictionary defines dues as a general term covering any type of monies due, including assessments. Therefore, all assessment are dues by definition. Either term is acceptable but industry practice is to call monthly assessments "dues" because they are fixed and regular. They are due every month. The term assessment is used for something extraordinary, such as a special assessment or emergency assessment.

Highrise. Like bylaws, early usage of this term was in the form of two words, sometimes hyphenated: high rise or high-rise. Common usage is now highrise.

Homeowners Association
. There are many variations in the usage of this term. It is sometimes used in the singular homeowner association. Some break it into three words, as in home owners association. Some will make it singular possessive homeowner's while other use the plural possessive homeowners' association. The most common usage seems to be the non-possessive plural homeowners association.

Many use HOA or homeowners association as a catch-all to refer to all residential CIDs (condominiums, PUDs, stock coops and community apartment projects) as opposed to commercial associations. Others insist that HOA can only refer to single-family planned developments and prefer community association as a generic term for residential associations. However, some industry professionals reserve "community association" for large high-end communities. There is no rule as to which term should be used as a catch-all for residential associations. The most common ones seem to be association, community association and homeowners association, all of which, from a legal standpoint, are interchangeable.

Judgment. This word is frequently misspelled as judgement with an extra "e" in the middle of the word. That is a spelling used by the British but not in American English. The proper spelling is judgment.

Manager Designations. The myriad of manager certifications and designations can turn into alphabet soup. See proper usage of designations.

President. Most in the HOA industry refer to the President as the Board President or President of the Board. There is no harm in using the term although technically most governing documents define the office as President of the Association. In almost all cases, the president chairs board meetings. In most large for-profit corporations there is a separation of the duties and offices between a president of the corporation and a chairman of the board (or chairwoman) who chairs or runs the meetings. This separation of duties rarely exists in community associations.

Shareholder. Referring to a homeowner in a condominium or planned development as a shareholder is improper. In all four forms of common interest developments (condominiums, PUDs, stock cooperatives and community apartments), owners are members of the association that manages the development. Only in stock cooperatives, can an owner be properly referred to as a shareholder. Civil Code §4190 uses the word shareholder and speaks of the owner having a share in a stock cooperative.

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