No homeowners association in Maryland is as big as Columbia Association or provides as many services and programs. CA serve more than homeowners — it also serves renters, businesses and the people who work in Columbia. CA is unique in its role and does not really fit within many parts of the Maryland HOA Act — a law that was passed nearly two decades after CA was established.
Many HOAs have only a few dozen properties. CA has a population of about 100,000 people and 33,000 properties. The next biggest HOA in Maryland is Montgomery Village, which has about 14,000 properties. Additionally, about one-third of CA’s annual charge revenue comes from commercial properties, unlike other HOAs that include only residential and not business properties.
CA provides far more services — including its facilities, programs and activities — to many more people in a much larger area than any other HOA.
CA is the only HOA in Maryland that can issue bonds to fund capital projects. And unlike other HOAs, CA rather than the property owners as a group owns all of the open space and facilities, and therefore is responsible for their upkeep. In other HOAs the property owners as a group are often the owner of roofs, exteriors, parking, community buildings, etc, which is why many of the provisions of the Maryland HOA Act and proposed amendments address issues that small HOAs have had in the past with insufficient reserve funding, insurance and inadequate internal controls.