When you purchase a home that's part of a covenanted community, you will most likely pay monthly fees and assessments to a homeowners association (HOA). These fees can be significant. When fees reach the point that they burden current homeowners and discourage potential buyers, current homeowners sometimes challenge the HOA fees and assessments in court.
HOA Monthly Fees
Monthly HOA fees are intended to pay electricity bills for street lights, landscaping, and maintenance and repairs to community facilities like clubhouses, pools, and exercise rooms. HOA fees also cover insurance and the salaries of HOA employees.
Generally, HOA management will establish a budget and divide the total expenses by the number of homes in the community. Each homeowner is expected to make monthly or other fixed payments throughout the year.
HOA Special Assessments
When an HOA decides that a special project is necessary, such as painting the exterior of all buildings in the community, the HOA may issue a special assessment to cover the costs. Sometimes, these assessments raise more money than seems reasonable to fund the project. When this happens, homeowners might want to challenge the HOA assessment in court.
Purchasing Your Home
When you purchase your home, your lawyer can help the deal close quickly and efficiently. If the home you purchase comes with the payment of monthly HOA fees and assessments, you may want to find a real estate lawyer with experience in this area - one who can evaluate whether the fees and assessments are reasonable. Good legal advice up front can save you money in the long run.
Challenging an HOA
If you and your fellow homeowners decide to challenge HOA monthly fees or a special assessment, you first should contact a real estate lawyer for advice. Homeowners who sue their HOA and lose may end up having to pay legal fees for the HOA to defend itself. Have a clear sense of your chances of success before any case is filed in court.
A Real Estate Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding HOA fees and assessments can be complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. We hope you found it useful. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a real estate lawyer.