Property Owner’s Association: POA vs HOA vs COA, the Same, Different?

Some homebuyers refuse to purchase a property if it is part of a property owner association. On the other hand, many other homebuyers intentionally seek out properties that are part of a POA because they find that there are many benefits associated with a property owner association.

If you're asking yourself what kind of fees are associated with living in an HOA, find out here.

But what exactly is a property owner association, and why do some people hate them while others love them?

In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about POAs, including how they differ from COAs and HOAs.

All this jargon can be confusing, that's why we've pulled together as complete a list of mortgage-related terms as possible here.

POA vs HOA vs COA: What Are Property Owner’s Associations?

Let’s start with the basics. What is a property owner’s association? Well, a property owner association covers a wide range of property types, including condos, single-family residential homes, townhomes, and possibly even commercial property.

A property owner’s association will typically oversee various rules and regulations regarding property management. These rules and regulations may include zoning restrictions, approving new developments, denying certain updates, and protecting the long-term real estate interest of the covered area.

This area can be a neighborhood, a part of town, or even a few different areas simultaneously. When you hear the term property owner’s association, envision a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), but on a larger scale.

What is an ROA?

An ROA is a real estate acronym that applies to residences. The acronym stands for residential owner’s association, and an ROA functions like a property owner’s association.

Purpose of a Property Owner’s Association (POA)

A property owner’s association has numerous purposes. Some of the most common purposes include protecting the value of properties in a specific area and maintaining neighborhood or community common areas.

Protecting the value of properties in a specific area is a major focus of a POA. If you’re wondering how a POA protects the value of a property, it typically comes down to the rules and regulations put into place.

For example, POAs can ensure that lawns are mowed regularly or that bushes do not grow to a point where they are out of control. They also ensure that homeowners don’t store junk in their front yards, like old mattresses, appliances, or inoperable cars.

A homeowner living in a POA is probably going to be required to maintain the exterior of their home as well. So, if a particular house’s siding is falling apart or the gutters are hanging off of the home, the POA board will probably step in and enforce rules already in place stating such unpleasant sights must be fixed.

In addition to protecting the value of the properties within the community, the POA board will also maintain common areas. Plenty of communities come with added benefits, like pools, clubhouses, parks, trails, basketball courts, or tennis courts, among other types of common areas. A POA board usually oversees all of the common areas and amenities in a way that keeps the grounds looking taken care of.

Many homeowners appreciate the level of security that a property owner’s association can provide. If you take a lot of pride in your home, the last thing you’ll want is to live near someone who doesn’t feel the same about their house.

The quality of your neighbor's property can drastically affect the value of your home, as no one wants to live near people who neglect the upkeep and maintenance of their homes.

Homeowner’s vs Condo Owner’s Associations

Earlier, we mentioned another common real estate acronym known as HOA, but there’s also COAs, too. HOA is short for a homeowner’s association while COA is shorthand for a condo owner’s association.

What Is an HOA?

A homeowner’s association is in charge of overseeing a specific neighborhood or community. The homeowner’s association is a governing body that oversees the aesthetics of the area.

If you purchase a home within an HOA community, you will need to pay monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual HOA fees. These fees can range greatly depending on the amenities that the specific HOA provides.

Mortgages come with a wide range of fees, including some you may not expect; that's why we wrote a blog about it, read it here!

What Is a COA?

A condo owner’s association, or COA, is effectively the same thing as an HOA but it’s for condominium complexes instead of neighborhoods full of houses. Even so, many condo associations use the term “HOA” as it is more widely known and understood than “COA.”

What Does an HOA or a COA Do?

Homeowner and condo associations protect and enhance the value of properties by enforcing various exterior facing rules. Examples of rules include:

  • Cutting and maintaining lawns
  • Home exteriors cannot be neglected or left in disrepair
  • Homeowners are only allowed to paint their homes, or front doors, specific colors

In addition to enforcing the rules, HOAs and COAs also maintain common areas. But unlike a POA, HOAs and COAs cover only specific neighborhoods or communities.

HOA vs POA: The Key Differences

So, what exactly is the difference between a homeowner’s association and a property owner’s association? Let's view both of them side by side.


Property Owner Association

Homeowner’s Association

Span of view?

Numerous neighborhoods, sections of a town, commercial buildings, and residential buildings

Oversees a specific neighborhood or community


Mandatory or voluntary depending on the area

Mandatory or voluntary depending on the area

What is the main goal?

Community planning and long term value of the properties or specific area

Protecting the value of homes within the community

Scope of view?

POAs are concerned about aesthetics as well as zoning and planning

HOAs focus on aesthetics and rule enforcement

Dues and fees?

Dues and fees are required

Dues and fees are required

Fines for noncompliance?

A POA can fine a property for not complying with the agreed-upon rules or standards

An HOA can fine a property for not complying with the agreed-upon rules or standards

Who are the board members?

Property planners and various homeowners within the designated area

Board members are elected within the community 


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Protect Your Assets

Oftentimes, purchasing a property is the largest purchase you will ever make in your life. When you purchase a home within a property owner’s association, a homeowner’s association, or a condo owner’s association, you are protecting your biggest asset.

Buying a property within an HOA, POA, or COA can protect the value of your asset, and helps the asset appreciate over time. The governing body will ensure that all of the homes within the community are well-maintained and remain in compliance with the agreed-upon rules and regulations. You’ll never have to worry about living next to someone who has overgrown bushes or detached gutters again.


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This page last updated: October 10, 2022