Are you tired of paying your HOA dues that you are wondering what happens if you don’t pay HOA Fees? Wonder no more, in this article, we will explain all the things that could happen to you when you refuse to pay your HOA fees.
If you don’t pay your HOA fees, the HOA can hire a collection agency to collect the money from you. The HOA may sue you or fine you. The privileges you enjoy in the community may be taken away from you, and your house could be foreclosed on by the HOA.
HOA is an association of homeowners in a community who come together to create and enforce rules for the betterment of the whole community.
The HOA is made up of homeowners who act in the best interest of the whole community. But sometimes, acting for the best interest of the whole community may come with a price. Sometimes, very high price.
The HOA fees are very important because it is used for the betterment of the whole community. Since money is needed to run things, people need to contribute the money so that things can be done smoothly.
If for example, something got spoilt in the community, it will be fixed with money. That is why the HOA collects dues/fees to ensure they have money for these repairs and other unexpected expenses.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay HOA Fees?
Five things that will happen to you if you don’t pay your HOA fees are:
1. You Will Be Reminded by the HOA
If it’s already past the period you have to send in your HOA fees, the HOA is likely to first write to you, reminding and informing you of the dues and how important it is that you pay up.
Depending on the HOA, they might include the deadline date from when the latter was mailed to you to pay which if you don’t will come with severe consequences.
Some HOA may also list some of the consequences that may befall you if you don’t pay up before the deadline date given to you.
The thing is that, in some HOA, if you don’t pay your HOA fees, they may not punish you immediately. The first thing they will do is to write a letter to remind you to pay up. You will be punished if after reading the mail, yet refuses to pay.
2. You Maybe Sued By The HOA
If it is an HOA that has the legal ability to sue, they can sue you for not paying your HOA dues. However, not all HOAs can sue. It has to be legally allowed before the HOA can proceed with the legal actions and it has to be stipulated in the HOA CC&R document.
HOA suing you is more like you losing your house. You can never win except you have super strong evidence to defend your actions such as the money being contributed to the HOA is used for nothing while things that need to be repaired are left untouched.
You need to have enough evidence and a good homeowners lawyer to win the case because HOA fees are something you must pay whether you go bankrupt or not. Whether you like it or not.
So to avoid getting sued by the HOA, do well to pay up your fees when necessary. If you are tired of paying HOA fees, you can simply sell your house, leave the HOA and move to a non-HOA area. Because as long as your house is still in that community managed by the HOA, you must continue to pay the fees.
3. Some Privileges Maybe Taken Away From You
The fees paid by homeowners to the HOA are mostly used for the community; either to repair something or to build something that will increase the value of all the houses in the community.
However, if you have not paid your HOA dues, the HOA may take away your access to certain things you enjoy in the community. Since you have not paid, they may deprive you of using the tennis court for free, or even the swimming pool.
You might be deprived of using some private roads that are managed and maintained by the HOA. Once these privileges are taken away from you, you may decide to pay so you can have your privileges back.
4. The HOA can Foreclose Your House
If you don’t pay your HOA fees, the HOA may initiate a foreclosure on your house. The foreclosure may or may not come immediately. Depending on the HOA, they might initiate the foreclosure if your debt is in thousand of dollars.
Some HOAs can initiate foreclosure if you are owing a few hundred to the association. It all depends on the HOA and the state the HOA is in.
Some HOA can even initiate a foreclosure on your house without court involvement. Again, this depends on the HOA, the state the HOA is in, and the terms stipulated in the HOA’s governing documents (CC&R).
If it is clearly stated that the HOA can do so without having the court involved, the CC&R will serve as a lien and comes into effect the date your payment becomes due. This is why you need to pay to avoid HOA problems.
In some HOAs, they might involve the court, that is, going through the state court system to ensure they squeeze out that payment from you because whether you like it or not, you must pay the fees.
5. Agency Collection Maybe Initiated by HOA
If you don’t pay your HOA fees when due, the HOA may hire an agency collector that will come and collect the money from you. It is the work of this agency to collect debts from people, so they know how they do it.
This also depends on the HOA. Since the HOA is the association of homeowners and you who have not paid your dues is also a homeowner, the HOA may decide to use an agency to collect the money from you instead of doing it by themselves.
One significant thing with HOA fees is that it is mandatory. It is something you must pay for whether you like it or not. There is no way you can get out paying HOA fees except you sell your house and move to another location.
As long as your house is still located in the community with HOA, you have already given your consent and must pay the fees which can come in quarterly or annually.
Even if you decide to sell your house and move to another community. You must pay all your outstanding HOA debts before leaving the community. Do you see? You cannot just sell your house and leave the community after owing the HOA. Homeowner’s rights against HOA don’t include not paying your dues.
Sometimes, HOA fees are higher than it usually is. Sometimes they add more money than expected. This usually happens when there is an urgent need in the community that requires a huge amount of money to fix.
Sometimes, it could be because what is to be repaired may need lots of money and when the HOA looks and see that the money already at hand cannot complete the work, they may raise the fee just to meet up.
Sometimes, these high fees are to help increase the value of all the properties in the community which every homeowner stands to benefit from.
For example, they may collect these huge fees to build an inground swimming pool, tennis court, gym house, and many more with the hope that it will help increase the value of properties in that area.
You may not understand what that means until you want to sell your house. These capital assessments will help boost your range. Except you are not planning to ever sell the house, then it is still beneficial to your children and grandchildren because they will all have access to these places.
HOA Fees are Used for:
- Community amenities and services
- City services
- Maintainance and repairs
- Pest control
- Reserve fund
- Lawn care
As long as the HOA you belong to is not voluntary, the fees are mandatory. It is something you must pay if you must continue to enjoy the benefits that come from it. It is also something you must pay for whether you like it or not. You cannot run away from paying HOA dues.
However, instead of allowing the HOA to either sue you, take away your privileges, foreclose your house, or even send an agent to collect the money from you, by all means, it is better to pay your fees and be at peace with yourself.