HOA’s & POA’s – Owners or Customers?

An article posted yesterday in the Austin (TX) American-Statesman demonstrates another example of why HOA’s and POA’s need to control their golf courses and clubs.

The Hills at Lakeway is a club owned by ClubCorp, widely regarded as a premiere operator of private clubs with generally good member-satisfaction.  However, During a Jan. 27 meeting, the governing board of the The Hills property owners association sought input from residents on two proposals to the declarations including:

  • Removing the mandatory social membership from the document, allowing social members to opt out of the club at a time of their choosing; or
  • Allowing the board to negotiate with ClubCorp to determine alternatives to a mandatory social membership including tiered dues for singles, senior citizens and disabled property owners

The problem here is that because they don’t own the club the homeowners don’t want to be tied to a mandatory membership obligation.  If they owned the club, they wouldn’t be – and act like “customers”.  Regardless of who owns the club, the “for-profit” nature of ClubCorp’s ownership provides disincentive for non-golfing owners to support the club.  If the POA owned the club, the homeowners would be more likely to support something they own and would be more readily convinced impacts the value of their homes.

This was discussed in my recent post.

This is an issue we’re seeing on an increasingly frequent basis.  HOA’s and POA’s are strongly encouraged to consider how they can get control of the defining amenity in their community.  It provides an element of control over property values not otherwise available.  The math is simple.  If the club declines because it’s not supported by the community, home values will decline.  In most cases, the per unit commitment to buy the club is far less than the average potential loss in value to each home.

At Golf Property Analysts, we’ve assisted HOA’s and POA’s in planning the future relating to their clubs.  All situations are different.  Let us know if we can help.