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Homeowners Association Basics
What is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?
A Homeowners Association, also known as a Property Owners Associations or Community Association, is a private, non-profit corporation formed during the development stage of a subdivision. The purpose of Homeowners Association is to maintain the subdivision and preserve property values. Any property purchased within a Homeowners Association is subject to mandatory membership in the Association. HOAs provide services that may not be available otherwise, such as streetlights, trash collection, and recreational amenities.
What should I do before buying a home in an HOA?
Before buying a home in an HOA you should review the rules and regulations and make sure you can you are comfortable abiding by them in your daily life. You should also consider the assessment rate and make sure it fits into your budget.
When you have a contract to purchase a home, the contract tells you whether the property is in an HOA. There is also an optional Addendum for Property Subject to Mandatory Membership in a Property Owners Association that can be used to request Subdivision Information which includes a Resale Certificate provided by the HOA. Our office charges $225.00 for the Resale Certificate though this cost may vary between other management companies. The Resale Certificate will provide more detailed information including whether the subject property has any existing deed restriction violations or monies owed, whether the Association has any unsatisfied judgments against it, and whether there are any planned capital expenditures. It will also include copies of governing documents, financial statements, insurance certificates, and notices of any health or housing code violations.
If I buy a home within an HOA, do I have to belong to the HOA?
Yes, HOAs are mandatory membership associations meaning all current and future property owners are required to be members.
What is a lifestyle community?
Lifestyle communities promote certain services, amenities, and social events for its residents. Communities built on golf courses may offer special tournaments or lessons to residents or host social events at the club house. Other lifestyle communities may be centered around family and include swimming pools, fitness centers, and parks, and host family friendly events.
Who is Crest Management? What role does the management company play for my community?
Crest Management has been hired by the Board of Directors to assist in the daily management of the community. Crest prepares the financial statements, mails out invoices, and collects payments. Crest performs deed restriction inspections, mails out letters, and reports back to the Board of Directors. Crest coordinates meetings documentation, writes meeting minutes, and maintains the books and records of the Association. Crest conducts common area property inspections and works with the Associations contractors to ensure the property is maintained. To learn more about Crest Management you can visit our About and Services page.
Where is the Crest office located and what are the hours?
Our office address is 17171 Park Row, Suite 310, Houston 77084. Our office hours are Monday – Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Who is the Crest Management contact for my community?
Your management team can be found on your community’s page and your homeowner dashboard. To locate the Community Page you can use the “Community Search”. For your homeowner dashboard, simply login to your account and you can find direct contact information under “Your Management Team”.
Who do I report an after-hours emergency to?
After hours emergencies can be reported by calling 281-579-0761. Our after-hours answering service will collect information regarding the nature of the emergency and pass the information along to the management team.
How long does it take for my Crest team to respond to me?
Our goal is to respond to all phone calls and emails within one business day.
Board of Directors
Can I contact my Board Members directly?
Board Members are volunteers and are not available to be contacted directly on a daily basis. However, all Board of Directors meetings are open to members and most meetings have a time for homeowners to speak directly to the Board. If the matter is time sensitive, we encourage you to contact your management team who can contact the Board Members immediately, if needed.
What role do the Board Members play for my community?
The powers and duties of the Board of Directors are defined in each Association’s governing documents. Generally speaking, the Board Members are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the Association. Board Members set the annual assessment rate, see to it that the deed restrictions are enforced, and enter into contracts for community services under the Association’s jurisdiction, i.e. landscape maintenance, trash collection, pool management, etc..
How do I become a Board Member for my community?
Each Association is required to have an annual meeting of members. In Associations that have transitioned from developer control to homeowner run boards, an election is held at each annual meeting. Prior to the annual meeting, a Solicitation of Candidates will be sent to members advising the number of positions to be elected and instructions of how to register as a candidate. Some Associations mail this notice while others email the notice. To ensure you receive the solicitation, make sure you are registered to receive email notifications of meetings. In Associations that are still under developer control, review the governing documents or contact your management team to determine what percentage of home sales is required before the Board of Directors transitions to homeowner control.
What is my account number?
Your account number can be found on your dashboard. Just login to your account and all information you need is there for you.
What is my management code and association ID?
The management code and association ID can be found on your statement. You can print/view a copy of your statement on your homeowner dashboard. For your homeowner dashboard, simply login to your account and you can find direct contact information under “View Statement”.
How do I pay my assessments?
Assessments can be paid online, by mail, or in person. We do not accept payment over the phone. We do not accept cash.
Credit cards are only accepted online (not in person or by mail) and there is a processing fee of $14.95. You may also pay online with an eCheck with no processing fee.
Check or money order can be mailed or paid in person at our office. Checks and money orders should be made payable to your Association (not payable to Crest Management). Please write your account number on the check or money order and include the statement stub.
Payments can be mailed to:
c/o Crest Management
PO Box 219320
Houston, TX 77218-9320
Be sure to include your property address in the Memo line.
Payments can be made in person at:
17171 Park Row, Suite 310
Houston, TX 77084
Be sure to include your property address in the Memo line.
Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday (closed from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Fridays).
When is my assessment due?
Please check your statement for the due date as this may vary by Association. Most Associations bill annually with a due date of January 1st and a late fee on February 1st.
How do I find out my balance?
Login to the Homeowner Portal and your balance will be on your dashboard. You can also view or print a statement to see the detailed balance.
Can I set up a payment arrangement?
For annually billed assessments, you may split your payment into three installments paid in advance of the due date (November, December, January) with no need for paperwork and no additional charges.
If you wish to set up a payment agreement after the due date, you must submit your request in writing (email is sufficient). All payment agreements made after the due date are subject to administrative fees and interest.
What is the assessment rate for my community this year?
The assessment rate can be found on your community page. To locate the Community Page you can use the “Community Search”.
How is the assessment rate decided for my community?
The initial assessment rate was determined by the developer. Each year after, it is reviewed by the Board of Directors during budget time to determine whether any changes need to be made to cover the expenses, planned improvements, and reserve contributions.
What do my assessments cover?
Specific expenses vary by Association and can be better identified by reviewing your Association’s budget. In general, assessments pay for things like common area landscaping, amenity maintenance and operation, administrative costs associated with collecting assessments and enforcing the deed restrictions, insurance for the Association, and legal expenses related to corporate and enforcement matters.
Does my mortgage company escrow my Homeowners Association assessment?
Please contact your mortgage company to confirm the terms of your escrow with them.
Exterior Modification Requests
How do I submit an application for a modification to home or property?
Applications can be submitted right from your dashboard. Simply log in to your account and select Exterior Modification Request Form.
What is an EMR, ACC, ARC, MRC, HIC?
An EMR, Exterior Modification Request, is the request submitted to the Association when you want to make a modification to your home. Each association has some type of Committee that reviews these submissions to ensure they are within the rules and regulations of the association. There are various Committee names cited in governing documents, i.e. Architectural Control Committee (ACC), Architectural Review Committee (ARC), Modification Request Committee (MRC), Home Improvement Committee (HIC).
Why do I need to apply to make modifications to my home or property?
The rules and regulations of an Association are designed to protect the beauty and value of the Association and each of its members. To ensure architectural standards are maintained to protect current and future owners, application must be made and approved prior to any modifications being made.
What types of modifications do I need to apply for?
Any modification to the exterior of your home. This includes major changes like room additions and minor changes like paint color, installation of gutters, and/or landscape changes. This also includes modifications that may not be visible from the street like storage sheds and swimming pools.
Do I permit from the city or county for my modification?
Depending on where your home is located. Each city and county require different things with most cities having more stringent permitting requirements than unincorporated areas. We recommend that you check with the city or county in which you resident to ensure you understand the requirements in advance.
Where do I obtain a lot survey for my property?
The lot survey should have been provided to you at closing. Depending on how long ago you purchased your home, you may be able to obtain a copy from the title company.
How long does it take for Exterior Modification Request to be processed?
Each Association has their own allowed timeline which can be found in the governing documents; however, 30 days is the norm.
Can I pay deposits needed for Exterior Modification Requests via credit card?
All deposits must be paid by check or money order. Make sure to include your property address and a description of what the deposit is for. Deposits can be mailed to our office at Crest Management, PO Box 219320, Houston, TX 77218-9320, or dropped off at 17171 Park Row, Suite 310, Houston, TX 77084.
How do I check the status of my Exterior Modification Request?
Login to the homeowner dashboard to see current EMRs and their status. For your homeowner dashboard, simply login to your account.
Why does my HOA have rules?
The Association’s rules and regulations are created to protect, preserve, and enhance the value of the overall community, as well as that of each individual owner.
What are CC&Rs?
The CC&Rs, Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, are the rules for the Association. They describe the rights and responsibilities of the Association and of the homeowners. The CC&Rs may be amended over time and there may be supplemental rules and regulations adopted.
How do I obtain a copy of my governing documents?
The governing documents are available to view, download, and/or print on the community page of our website. All documents are in searchable PDF format.
How are the deed restrictions enforced?
Crest is contracted to perform one deed restriction inspection per month. The inspection is conducted during business hours and letters are mailed within one business day. We realize that some violations may only occur in the evenings or on weekends, so photo evidence can be provided to our office of these violations. A series of letters is sent to the homeowner (and renter, if applicable) notifying them of the violation and providing a timeline for which it should be corrected. After approximately three months, if the violation still exists and arrangements have not been made for a time extension, the Board of Directors will consider taking legal action. The legal process begins with letters from the attorney’s office and could continue to filing a lawsuit.
Some violations, such as mowing the lawn or removal of debris, can be corrected by the Association and billed back to the homeowner’s account. This would require notice to the owner and an opportunity to correct the violation themselves prior to action being taken. The specific notice time varies by community and can range from 5 to 15 days
What is policy for parking on the street in my community?
Parking rules vary by community. Login to the homeowner portal and you can view the rules specific to your community there.
What amenities does my community have to offer?
Amenities vary by community. Login to the homeowner portal and you can see your community’s amenities on your dashboard.
How do I get access to my community’s amenities (pool, park, fitness center, etc.)?
All amenity access requests are available through the homeowner portal. Simply login to your account. Please note that you must be in good standing with the Association to gain amenity access, so check your balance on your dashboard before submitting your request.
How do I find the hours to my amenities?
Amenity hours vary by community. The amenity hours of operation can be found in the services section of the community page.
How do I report issues I see in my community?
Contacting our office has never been easier! Simply log in to your account and click Service Request on your dashboard. Complete the simple form and your management team will be notified immediately. What do I do if I receive a deed restriction letter? Each letter notes a timeframe in which the violation should be corrected. If you correct the violation within that time frame, no further action is required, and you do not need to contact our office. If you are unable to correct the violation within that time frame and need additional time, you should call or email us with a specific request. If you have any questions about the violation or what you can do to correct it, please call or email your management team.
What if I am unable to resolve the violation in the time allotted?
Give us a call or email and let us know what’s going on. Some requests can be approved immediately by the management team while other lengthier requests may require board approval.
Are board meetings open to all residents?
Board meetings are open to all residents though there will be limited speaking opportunities. The board does have the right to go into executive session to discuss specific topics (personnel matters, litigation, contract negotiations, enforcement actions, confidential attorney communications, matters involving the invasion of owners’ privacy, and matter involving parties who have requested confidentiality and the board agreed to honor that request). Any decisions made during executive session will be orally summarized and placed in the meeting minutes.
When is the next meeting for my community?
You can contact your management team directly to get meeting information. To stay up to date, you can register to receive email notifications of board meetings.
When and where are my board meetings held?
Please contact your management team directly for this information.
How do I set up access my online homeowner dashboard (homeowner portal)?
If this is your first time visiting, welcome, we’re glad you’re here! Click on Homeowner Login and then select “Not Registered Yet?” and fill out our Temporary Password Request Form.
Why is my address is not showing up when filling out the temporary password request form?
When you begin typing your address, a list of potential matches will populate and you can select your address from the list. Try typing only the numerical portion and first three letters of the street name. This will provide a list of ten matches. If your address is not on the list, try typing a few more letters to narrow it down. However, if you continue to type and there are any discrepancies between what you enter and how the address is entered into our system, such as Lane vs Ln or North vs N., the address will not be found. If you still find yourself running into issues you may contact your management team and they can assist you.
Why do I need to include documents?
Documents are used for verification purposes only. In order to protect your information, we require that you show proof of residence. All documents will be securely deleted once the registration process is complete.
How do I make updates (reset password, change, email, etc) to my Homeowner Portal?
While logged in to your account, select your name in the top right corner of the screen, then select User Settings. Make the desired changes and log out of your account. Feel free to log back in to confirm. If you experience any issues, please contact your management team.
The temporary password I received to login isn’t working?
Temporary passwords expire after 14 days from the date of the letter. If your password has expired, please request a new temporary password.
Does Crest store my login information?
No, Crest does not store your password. All passwords and databases are encrypted. If you have forgotten your password, we are not able to retrieve it. You can select Forgot Password and a new one will be sent the email address we have on file.
How secure is your website?
Yes, our website has an extended validation SSL Certificate from Norton Security, which is the strongest encryption certificate available. This is evidenced by the web address beginning with https://.
Our system is set up to be a collection of individual sites with each Association having its own site. Each site has Association specific permissions outlining who has access and to what information.
Why do I need to login to fill out forms?
By logging in to complete forms, we know the applicant is the homeowner. Since your identification has already been verified during the registration process, we know the application is not accidentally being submitted to the wrong address or being submitted by someone who is not authorized to submit an application for your home.
How do I update my mailing address?
Submit your address change request by email or mail to your management team. Make sure to include your name, association name, property address, and new mailing address.
Does my community have an onsite office?
To find out whether your community has an onsite office you can contact your management team. Your management team can be found on your dashboard. Simply login to your account and you can find direct contact information
How do I find out who is responsible for maintenance of certain items within my community (ie. Fence, sidewalks, empty lots, etc.)?
The rights and responsibilities are generally included within the CC&Rs which are available on your community page. But if you don’t feel like digging it up yourself, just contact your management team who is here to answer all of your questions.
How do I report a streetlight that is out or flashing?
CenterPoint Energy maintains the streetlights. Burnt bulbs and ballasts are generally repaired within 3 days while larger issues can take up to 7 days. Outages can be reported online or by calling 713-207-2222. You will need the number stenciled onto the pole or you can use the map feature on the website. If you report online, you can opt in to receive email notifications of their progress.
Does my association do repairs in the interior of my home?
No, the Association does not do repairs to the interior of your home. If you are still under builder warranty, you may contact the builder directly; however, the Association and the builder are two different entities and are not related.
How do I obtain a mailbox key?
The mailboxes are owned and maintained by the United States Postal Service (USPS). To obtain a key, visit your local USPS location and speak with an agent. If you don’t know where the nearest location is, you can find out here.
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