Table of Contents:
Read Florida Homeowner's rules and regulations, starting with Chapter 720 in the state's statutes, to understand what legal rights and responsibilties the State of Florida requires of all HOAs. These may be found on line easily at various websites, including ccfjedu.net, or FLsenate.gov.
Talk to your neighbors and find out if they want an HOA. Make sure there is a good-sized group or majority interested in the HOA, or there's a good chance you will be wasting your time trying to organize one.
Schedule a community meeting in a building that will hold the amount of people you may expect, such as a school or church, if there is enough interest. Announce that a group vote will be taken, and a steering committee set up if the majority approves. Post fliers, go door-to-door or use social websites to advertise the meeting at least two to four weeks in advance.
Provide an agenda at the meeting, which should be a time to point out the pros and cons of the association. Allow attendees one to two minutes each to express a concern or ask a question before taking a vote. If the majority agrees, set up a steering committee of five to six people to begin the process of setting up the HOA. Announce the next meeting, which should occur within 30 days, and advise the community that nominations for officers will be accepted.
Start a website, even temporary, that can be used to inform the community and accept suggestions and concerns. Assign someone to monitor and update this on a regular basis.
Develop a list of bylaws within the steering community, which are the enforceable rules that are being presented to the community. Remember that while you cannot make everyone happy, you must be careful that no rule is unenforceable by law, or causes an undue financial strain on everyone; for example, making everyone remove standing fences or putting in new mailboxes just so they match.
Inform the community at the second meeting of the steering community's research, including what fees will be charged, when they are due, and how common areas will be handled. Provide handouts of the proposed bylaws to be voted on at the next meeting. Give out the website address for people to peruse, and announce the next meeting.
Elect officers and approve bylaws at the third meeting, officially kicking off the Homeowners Association for your neighborhood.
Elect homeowners’ association officers. The group will need to have a board to make major decisions and changes. The board should include a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. Also, determine who will be the group’s registered agent. The Missouri secretary of state's office will send all communications to this person.
Check for name availability. Before naming the association, it’s important to make sure the desired name isn’t already in use. You can search name availability in the secretary of state's Business Entity database (See Resource 1 below). If the name is unclaimed, you can apply to reserve it for between 60 and 180 days. The application will cost $25 and you will need to submit the form called "Application for Reservation of Name (BE 1)" (see Resource 2 below).
File Articles of Incorporation. This filing with the secretary of state creates the organization. The cost to file this information is $20, and you will need to fill out and submit the form called "Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Corporation and Domestic Nonprofit Instruction Sheet (Corp. 52)" (see Resource 2 below).
Consult with neighbors and other leaders of the association and write bylaws. These rules will dictate what homeowners can and cannot due to be in line with the association’s standards. They can include anything from requiring landscaping to regulating fence height.
Communicate with other members. Set regular meetings and choose a form of communication, such as e-mails or a newsletter. Make contacts available to everyone in the neighborhood, so they know whom to contact with concerns.