What's the difference between a Homeowners Association vs Property Owner's Association?

Posted by David S. on 7th Jun 2023

Home Owners Association (HOA) and Property Owners Association (POA) are terms that are sometimes wrongly used interchangeably. The two organizations are very different even though they work within the same industry - real estate.

What is a Home Owner Association (HOA)?

An HOA often deals with a community of single family homes such as a condominium community, a subdivision, or even a gated community. This is an organization where membership within its jurisdiction is required. Homeowners pay monthly fees which the HOA uses for management and the development of common areas. An example would be tree trimming within a development. In some HOA's, upgrades or repairs to the homes are also included. An example would be repairing the roof on a condo. These sorts of services would be handled and paid for by the HOA.

HOA's set the rules, which can be quite strict. Some HOA's limit what color of paint is used on the exterior of a home or how often lawns are mowed. Their goal is to set the standards for what homes look like and that they blend into the entire neighborhood. They focus on the entire community as a single entity. The takeaway here is that an HOA governs the same type of buildings — a community of single family homes, a complex or community of condos, etc. Their jurisdiction is usually limited to the outside of a home though they do focus on the esthetics and property values within their community. The HOA is a social connection also, as they might welcome a new homeowner and provide information about the neighborhood.

What is a Property Owners Association (POA)?

A POA is not limited to the type of building or property owner that it governs. Whereas a HOA is about a community of the same type of properties, a POA is usually a mix of property types, including single family residences and businesses. The goals of a POA are very different too. Many POA's are all about community education as it relates to the real estate industry or a special industry within that community. They help answer real estate questions from the community or they sometimes pose real estate questions to the community. They are less about which color to paint your house and more about how to improve local areas, development projects, and even local zoning regulations.

The takeaway with a POA is that it is about the larger community and long-term development goals. They are different from an HOA in that they represent more than just homeowners, though sometimes their role mimics that of an HOA. The territory that a POA oversees may include an entire town or even multiple towns. It may also focus just on a special area of a town such as a historic or waterfront community. For the most part, their focus goes beyond property values and community aesthetics and into the long-term development of business, community, and overall property value.

Who Owns the Property?

Who owns the property is also a clue about what type of entity is involved. An HOA may or may not own the property on which a single family home sits. Spec homes are becoming popular. A spec home is a house that is set on a property that the home's owner does not own. These developments are much like condo units were someone owns the condo but not the land. In some locations, the overseeing entity might also be a POA. Again, it comes down to how the group is organized and what types of buildings occur in their jurisdiction. Some gated communities may also include stores and other businesses. Those businesses may be owned by the HOA/POA or by individuals. With a POA, the ownership of the property is almost always with the party that owns the building.


The big differences between an HOA and POA are property ownership and scope. A POA rarely owns the property. An HOA, on the other hand, may or may not own the property on which a home sits. Another key difference is the type of entities involved with the organization. HOA mostly deal with homes; whereas, a POA mostly represents homes and businesses. The last difference is the goals of the organization. An HOA is primarily concerned with property value and esthetics. A POA is primarily concerned with the education of the community in regards to real estate planning, such as development.

Whether you live in a community with an HOA or POA, we carry a variety fo supplies for your home improvement needs. We recommend reviewing your restrictive covenants or contacting your association prior to starting a home project to see what can or cannot be done to your property. When you're ready to get started, check out our selection of exterior doors and windows for top quality products at the lowest prices.

About The Author

David S. loves to tell stories. He came from a fishing family so storytelling is likely genetic. His writing style translates easily to both blog and article formats. He is a patient writer who takes the time to understand your project. David writes a great deal about home living. His favorite place in the world is his home. He has a vast knowledge of antiques, art, and deep love of cooking. He likes to entertain and is the master of small parties and intimate dinners. They say home is where the heart is and they happen to be correct.

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