The acronyms POA and HOA can represent a number of things, but when compared to each other they usually stand for "home owners association" and "property owners association." They are similar but can have key differences depending on the association.
Home Owners Associations
People who own property within a particular neighborhood or complex can be a member of an HOA. Most require membership dues and have rules for members regarding property management.
Property Owners Associations
POAs can be synonymous with HOAs, but they can also be larger and broader in scale. For example, regional POAs can provide educational, legislative and networking services to property owners.
HOAs are exclusively for residential homeowners. Their purpose is generally to maintain standards for a residential community; membership may be a requirement if you live within a certain area. In addition to paying monthly membership fees, members follow regulations particular to their HOA such as lawn upkeep, outdoor color schemes and parking. HOAs also manage any shared areas such as playgrounds and pools.
POA members may be residential homeowners, but they might also be property managers or business owners who contribute to the real estate industry. POAs do not necessarily have regulations the way HOAs do. Instead, their purpose is to support the local real estate industry and provide members with networking and education opportunities.