Yes, You Can Refuse To Pay Unfair HOA Fees — Here's How
If you own a house or condo, you've likely been in contact with your HOA at least once. Whether you are planning a move into your new property or have lived there for some time, the HOA often serves as your introduction to the neighborhood, helping to establish some rules and regulations that all property owners are obligated to follow.
While the basic goals of HOAs are the same - to create and enforce rules within a planned community or subdivision - there can be a lot of variation from HOA to HOA. This is especially true in terms of HOA fees, and if you've ever wondered if you can refuse to pay HOA fees, DoNotPay has the answer. You can refuse to pay HOA fees, but there could be some unpleasant consequences. Keep reading to learn about HOA fees and how to easily appeal any fine from your HOA.
What Are HOA Fees?
Your local homeowners association is responsible for maintaining updates and improvements to your community, such as cleaning and maintaining community spaces, removing trash from roads and side streets, and reaching out to community members to enforce rules and regulations. These services aren't free, however. Your HOA fees or HOA dues are used to cover these expenses. That’s why you can’t just say you don’t want to pay the HOA fees.
Here's what you need to know about HOA fees:
- HOA fees often cover the cost of vendors such as landscapers and maintenance workers.
- HOA fees are often paid on a monthly basis, although some HOAs require an annual fee instead.
- Your HOA fees are typically deposited to the HOA's operating fund, while a portion of the fee usually goes to the reserve fund for emergency expenses.
When you join your HOA, you should be apprised of the HOA fee schedule and breakdown, so that you can understand exactly how your dues are being used. Here’s an example:
HOA Fees Inclusions
|Municipal Services||These include civic amenities like security and trash removal.|
|Association Insurance||The HOA fees can include insurance for any injury or damage that occurs within the areas that HOA maintains such as recreational areas, common spaces, and other exterior locations.
Take note that you need to have an individual insurance policy to cover your own personal property.
|Maintenance And Repairs||A part of the fees is allocated to maintaining and repairing common areas and shared structures, including roofs, outside walls, parking lots, shared roads, and common areas that require landscaping or lawn care.|
|Amenities And Services||If your community has a pool, clubhouse, lounge, concierge, fitness centers, and other amenities, maintenance for such are also part of HOA fees.|
How Much Are HOA Fees?
Since the rules and regulations of every HOA vary depending on your city, state, and community, there's no one set HOA fee. The fee usually is higher for HOAs that provide exclusive amenities, while "basic" HOAs for middle-class subdivisions and communities can range from $200 to $500.
These are a few of the factors that can influence your HOA fees:
- Size of the HOA.
- The location of your homeowners association.
- The extent of the amenities offered by the HOA for members of the community.
Other factors can influence your HOA fees - and if you live in a very exclusive community, you can count on shelling out a great deal more than $200 for your dues. Inflation can also have an effect on HOA fees, and with the cost of goods and services skyrocketing, your HOA fees could see an increase as well.
Can You Refuse to Pay HOA Fees?
Refusing to pay HOA fees can be considered a very serious offense since you agree to pay those fees when you join the HOA. While late payments generally aren't a major issue, non-payment could face one of the following consequences:
- Late fees
- Suspension of HOA member privileges
- Fines and lawsuits
While it is rare, the HOA could choose to pursue you by threatening a lien or foreclosure on your property for non-payment of your HOA fees. In the end, being transparent with your HOA regarding payment issues is the best course of action. If you can't pay your HOA fees when they are due for whatever reason, contact your HOA to possibly set up a payment plan. This can help you avoid any issues such as the ones outlined above.
Appeal a Fine From Your HOA Using DoNotPay
Your HOA is an organization that is prone to mistakes and issues, just like any other group that is managed by a large group of people. On occasion, you might receive a fine that you feel is unfair. If you want to appeal a fine from your HOA but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 4 easy steps:
- Tell us why you received the fine (what violation are you being accused of)?
- Tell us the amount you are being fined for.
- Describe why you think this fine is wrong or unfair. For example, the alleged violation may have incorrect details or you may appeal on the basis that the rule is selectively enforced and discriminatory.
- Enter the date you received this fine and whether or not you received prior warnings.
That's all there is to it! DoNotPay will send the demand letter to the HOA on your behalf with a two-week deadline for their representatives to either resolve the issue or contact you with more information. If they don't, you can escalate the issue using DoNotPay's Sue Now product.
DoNotPay Makes it Easy to Deal With Your HOA Issues
Do you have other HOA questions or concerns? DoNotPay can help! Check the following resources for more information:
- What to do about HOA discrimination against renters
- How to dispute homeowners association late fees: A DoNotPay Guide
- Filing noise complaints with HOA
- How to file a dispute with Homeowners Associations
- What to know about an HOA complaint form