Who is a Member of the HOA?

Lot owners in Valley West and The Lakes are automatically Members of the Valley West Homeowners Association (HOA). Each lot has one vote in the Association.

Who runs the Valley West HOA?

The Valley West HOA is led by a three-member Board of Directors, which consults with Members to set priorities for the HOA and implement its Covenants. Board members are volunteers who are residents of Valley West and Members of the HOA. Board members are elected to 3-year terms, on a rotating basis, at the Annual Meeting of the HOA, held each year in late June.

The HOA engages a property management company to manage routine matters on behalf of the HOA.

What is the HOA responsible for?

The primary responsibilities of the Valley West HOA are to maintain alleys and woonerfs (including snow removal) and to maintain and improve the landscaping of shared open spaces. Beginning in 2020, the city of Bozeman is progressively taking responsibility for city parks contained within the community, including Valley West Park near Clifden Drive, the East Lake in The Lakes, and pavilions and playgrounds.

Who maintains the grounds of Valley West and The Lakes?

In Valley West Park and the area around the East Lake (in The Lakes), which are city parks, the city of Bozeman manages irrigation and mowing. In all other common areas, the HOA engages contractors to manage irrigation, mowing, tree maintenance. The city manages snow removal on city streets, and the HOA is responsible for snow removal in the alleys and woonerfs.

Who does snow removal in Valley West and The Lakes?

The city of Bozeman is responsible for snow plowing in the city streets in Valley West and The Lakes (indicated by green street signs). The HOA removes snow in the alleys in Valley West, woonerfs in The Lakes (identified by blue street signs), and sidewalks throughout the community. The HOA's plowing vendor removes snow when at least 2 inches have fallen. 

What are homeowners responsible for?

Homeowners in Valley West and The Lakes are responsible for maintenance of their homes, driveways, and property; irrigation and mowing of their property; removal of snow from sidewalks in front of their homes; and maintenance of landscaping in the boulevards in front of their homes.This includes ongoing maintenance of required trees on their property. Homeowners must seek approval from the city of Bozeman to plant, remove, or replace trees in the boulevard in front of their home. Some properties within Valley West are managed as condominiums that have their own homeowners associations to maintain building structures and grounds.

Can homeowners in Valley West rent out their units?

Yes, with some caveats. Subject to restrictions in the community’s Covenants, individual homeowners can rent out either their residence or accessory dwelling unit, but not both. Homeowners are responsible to ensure that renters respect parking restrictions and maintain the peace and calm of the neighborhood. The City of Bozeman places additional restrictions on short-term rentals (see the next question). 

Can homeowners rent their units on Airbnb, VRBO, or similar hosting platforms?

It’s complicated. The HOA Covenants allow homeowners in Valley West and The Lakes to offer their homes or ADUs (but not both) as short-term rentals (STRs). However, the City of Bozeman places a number of additional restrictions on STRs (rentals of 28 days or less). The city does not permit properties to be operated full-time as STRs (referred to as Type 3 STRs) in either Valley West or The Lakes.

In The Lakes, the city permits only Type 1 STRs. An owner can rent out one or two bedrooms, as long as the owner is present in the home for the entire rental period. In The Lakes, the city does NOT allow an owner to rent out an entire home or ADU as an STR under any circumstances (long-term rentals are different).

In original Valley West, Type 1 STRs are permitted. Type 2 STRs are also permitted if the (main) residence is the owner's verifiable primary residence for at least 6 months of the year. In that case, the owner can offer the home as an STR during the remaining 6 months, OR they can offer the ADU (if they have one) as an STR at any time. Under city regulations (and also under the HOA Covenants), the owner cannot offer both the house and the ADU as STRs.

The city requires that owners register their short-term rental and notify their nearby neighbors. If a community member suspects an STR is operating without city approval, they can report the address anonymously to the city’s office for short-term rentals. In summer 2022, the city indicated its intent to begin cracking down on unregistered STRs.

Are there special rules about renting out a house and ADU on the same lot?

Yes. In both Valley West and The Lakes, renting out both the house and ADU on the same lot (either as short-term or long-term rentals) is prohibited. The HOA Covenants require that either the principal dwelling or the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) be physically occupied as a principal residence by at least one of the owners. No more than one of the dwellings (house or ADU) may be rented by non-owners at the same time. Further, no more than two people can occupy an ADU. 

The ability for homeowners to construct an ADU on their property was not intended to create two rental units on the same lot, which detracts from the residential nature of the community. The HOA has become concerned about situations where both the house and ADU (at the same address) are being rented out, and the Board has assessed substantial fines in a number of these cases. Contact us if you are concerned that a house and ADU at the same address are being rented out at the same time. 

Are there occupancy limits for residences in Valley West?

Yes, for accessory dwelling units. In both Valley West and The Lakes, the Covenants limit the occupancy of ADUs to two persons. The HOA will monitor advertisements to rent out ADUs and enforce this restriction.

Other than ADUs, the HOA does not place restrictions on occupancy of homes in the Association. The city of Bozeman may regulate the number of people who can live in the same household. 

How much are the HOA dues?

As of September 2022, HOA dues are $160/quarter ($640/year), applied to each lot.

How do I pay my quarterly HOA dues?

See the main HOA page for options to pay your dues.

Can the HOA Board raise my dues?

Yes. According to the Covenants, the Board can raise annual dues by up to 15% each year to cover increases in operating costs. Increases in dues exceeding 15% must be approved by a vote of the Members. In the past, the Board has sought input from Members at the Annual Meeting regarding proposed budgets and increases in dues.

Special Assessments can also be levied, according to the Covenants. The HOA maintains a Reserve Fund with the intent of avoiding Special Assessments to fund foreseeable repairs and maintenance.

How does the HOA decide on a budget?

THe HOA's fiscal year runs from July to June. Each spring, the HOA Board works with the property managers to adjust the previous year's budget based on inflation and the shifting needs and goals of the Association. The Board consults the most recent Reserve Study for guidance about the appropriate annual contribution to our Reserve Fund, which pays for major maintenance and repairs of existing HOA facilities.

If the planned budget for the next fiscal year is larger than the previous year's budget, a dues increase will be considered. (Dues account for more than 95% of the HOA's income.)

A proposed budget is presented at the Annual Meeting in June, and Members are asked for their guidance before the budget is officially adopted by the Board.

How many homeowners pay dues in Valley West and The Lakes?

The Valley West Homeowners Association has 813 dues-paying units, or lots, that are owned individually. For example, a lot (or dues-paying unit) can be a house, a condominium, or half of a duplex. Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are owned along with a house and are not lots (or dues-paying units). For a sense of proportion, The Lakes includes 215 lots; the remaining lots are in original Valley West.

For many years, the number of dues-paying units in the Valley West HOA increased each year as additional lots were sold in Valley West and (later) in The Lakes. The HOA reached its maximum number of 813 dues-paying units with the 2021-22 budget. As currently structured, the number of dues-paying units in the Valley West HOA will not increase in the future. 

Why does the HOA maintain a Reserve Fund?

The HOA's annual operating budget is designed to pay for the ongoing costs of running the Association, including landscaping, snow removal, and response to Members' needs. The Reserve Fund is maintained in a separate account from the operating expenses. The Reserve Fund is a savings account the HOA builds up to pay for major foreseeable maintenance and repairs of existing HOA facilities. For our HOA, major foreseeable expenses will include repair and replacement of asphalt and concrete aprons in our alleys and woonerfs, concrete sidewalks in our open spaces, and mailbox stations (we have 72!). Without a Reserve Fund, when an HOA faces the need for a major repair, it may be forced to levy a Special Assessment. Our HOA makes annual contributions to our Reserve Fund to avoid the need for Special Assessments in the future. 

Can I see the minutes of Annual Meetings and HOA Board meetings? Can I review the HOA’s budget and reports of income and expenditures?

All of this information is available to Members of the Valley West Homeowners Association; that is, owners of property in Valley West and The Lakes. You will find these documents in the "Shared Documents" section of your Appfolio account. Please contact Legacy Properties to activate your account on Appfolio.

Can the HOA Covenants be amended?

Yes. However, by intention, this is not an “easy” process. A change to the Covenants requires agreement from a supermajority (70%) of voting members. You can read about the process at Article XI, Section 7 of the Valley West Covenants, posted at the Documents page. If you (as an HOA member) want to propose an amendment to the Covenants, please Contact Us to discuss the process.

Can I run for the HOA Board?

Yes! Subject to the provisions in the Covenants, any Member of the HOA can run for election to the Board of Directors. Elections take place at the Annual Meeting in late June. Normally, one Board member is elected each year to a 3-year term on the Board. If you want to run for election to the Board, see the Board page to learn about the process.

Please attend the HOA Annual Meeting June 25 at 6 pm More info

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