Some of the more frequently asked questions.
Q: What is a common interest community, commonly referred to as a homeowner’s association?
A: Common Interest Communities (CICs) are designed for community living by a developer (also known as a “declarant”). The community is created by a specific set of legal documents, generally drawn up by the developer and subject to change by the membership (owners). The legal documents include: covenants, conditions and regulations; Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. When the developer relinquishes control of the community, the community’s affairs are then governed by the Association of owners through an elected board. For our community, this is the Salem Fields Community Association (SFCA). Membership is both automatic and mandatory.
The SFCA Board of Directors is authorized by law to enforce rules and restrictions (for example, regarding aesthetics), and to collect mandatory assessments to pay for maintenance and improvements to common elements. The common elements include: trash pickup, pool, clubhouses, tennis courts, tot lots, walking trails, roads (villas and townhomes ), sidewalks, and signage. The obligation for owners to pay for insurance, maintenance assessments, and upkeep of shared property other than their own units/lots is the essential characteristic of a Common Interest Community. The relationship between owners and the Association is a financial and legal one.
Q: What is the Board of Directors?
A: The Salem Fields Community Association is a corporation and therefore, a governing body is required to oversee its business. The governing body is the Board of Directors who is elected by the homeowners in June of each year. The limitation and restrictions of the powers of the Board of Directors is outlined in the SFCA Governing Documents. View the Governing Documents online at: Governing Documents.
Q: Are Board of Directors’ meetings open to all residents? If so, where and when are they held?
A: Yes. They are held the fourth Tuesday of each month. Notice of the time and place of any regular board meeting will be noted in the community newsletter, accessed online on the Calendar page, by email or on signage at each entrance to the community.
Q: What is a “management company,” what do they do, and how do I reach them?
A: The Board of Directors contracts with a property management company, FSResidential, to provide such services as: collection of homeowner fees, supervision of subcontractors, obtaining bids for subcontracted services, providing financial statements and collection reports, as well as a general clearinghouse for problem solving, communications with homeowners, and the Board of Directors and to serve in an advisor capacity. FSResidential reports directly to the Board and all decisions are made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. The management company may be reached by email listed online at the “Contact Us” page.
Q: What are the CC&R’S?
A: The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) are the governing legal documents that set up the guidelines for the operation of the planned community as a non-profit corporation. The CC&R’s were recorded by the Spotsylvania County recorder’s office and are included in the title to your property. Failure to abide by the CC&R’s may result in a fine to a homeowner by the Salem Fields Community Association. The governing legal documents for the association may be viewed online at CC&Rs.
Q: What are the Bylaws?
A: The Bylaws are the guidelines for the operation of the non-profit corporation. The Bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the Board of Directors, the terms of the Directors, the membership’s voting rights, required meetings and notices of meetings, and the principal office of the Salem Fields Community Association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the Salem Fields Community Association as a business. The Bylaws for the association may be viewed online within the Document page of this site. Reach this site by clicking: Bylaws.
Q: Are there any other rules?
A: The Salem Fields Community Association has developed Rules and Regulations as provided for in the CC&R’s and adopted by the Board of Directors. Rules are established to provide direction to the homeowners for common courtesies with regard to parking, vehicles, pets and pool use hours, etc. In addition, the Salem Fields Community Association adopted Architectural Guidelines with procedures for submitting requests to make exterior changes to your home. Such changes may include patio covers, decks, landscaping, exterior color changes or additions. These rules and guidelines are set up to maintain the aesthetic value and integrity of the community on behalf of all owners, and hopefully protect the market value of your investment as well. Violations of these rules may result in action by the Board of Directors and a fine. In addition, if you proceed with an exterior improvement or change, without written approval of the Board of Directors, you will be required to remove or correct the alteration and/or be fined for the violation. For more information about this topic visit the “Documents” page of this site.
Q: If I want to serve on a committee, how do I find out what committees are active and how I can get involved?
A: The Contact Us page of this website will inform you of the status of current committees organized and committee contact information. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the committee chair or fill out the online volunteer form <LINK>.
Q: What is my assessment?
A: The assessment is the monthly amount due from each homeowner to cover the operating expenses of the common area and provide for reserve funds for replacement of common facilities in future years. Your assessments are due on the first of the month. Statements will be sent for assessments as a reminder of the amount due.
Q: How is the amount of my assessment determined?
A: The Code of Virginia typically requires an initial budget from the developer for each community that a developer proposes to build. This budget is set upon specific guidelines for utilities, landscaping, administration, etc. Reserve funds are monies set aside for future expenses due to the life expectancy of certain items: lighting, street resurfacing, pool equipment, etc. These amounts are then divided by the number of units built in a given phase of the development. Subsequent budgets are developed by the Board of Directors and adjusted periodically to meet anticipated expenses.
Q: What happens if I don’t pay my assessment?
A: The maintenance and management services incurred by the Salem Fields Community Association are dependent upon timely receipt of the assessments due from each homeowner. Payments received after the tenth of each month are late and will be charged a $35.00 late fee. In the next month, the current month’s assessment plus the prior month’s late fee must be paid in full before the tenth, or a second late fee will be charged. The CC&R’s provide the authority for the Salem Fields Community Association to charge late charges and proceed with a lien on your property, or foreclosure proceeding for nonpayment of assessments.
Q: Where can I learn more about paying my assessment?
A: For more information, please follow this link: Pay My Assessment.