The most notable difference between a neighborhood association, or NA, and a homeowners association, or HOA, is that NAs are voluntary.

HOAs are typically created by developers to help pay for the maintenance of common amenities and to maintain a desired standard of appearance across the community. In an HOA membership, fees are usually required with the purchase of a home within the community. Once the neighborhood is completely built out—meaning all of the homes have been constructed—a property management organization might take over the developer’s role with an HOA.

NAs are usually made of volunteers who address issues in their communities such as beautification, unsafe intersections or sidewalks. NAs often work with city officials to try to address those issues.

NAs also organize neighborhood social functions and contact information, but they cannot enforce fees or restrictions on residents.