What To Know Before Joining An HOA
Homeowners associations (HOAs) are becoming more and more common. In fact, most homeowners—58%—live in an HOA community. HOAs work by requiring monthly fees from their members. In exchange, the members receive amenities such as landscaping, painting, pool access, and other shared common areas.
While there can be some perks to being part of an HOA, there can also be some downsides. First of all, the fees can be expensive. They vary depending on location and housing type (condo HOAs tend to be priciest), but can range from a couple hundred dollars to $700 or more per month. This is on top of your mortgage and other housing costs.
You should also consider that HOA fees can increase, so you’re not locked in a monthly rate. Plus, if a huge renovation is needed, you may be required to pay a one-time fee to offset the costs. You are under contractual obligation to pay these costs. Otherwise, the HOA could put a lien on your home or even foreclose on it.
Probably the biggest issues with HOAs are the community rules and mismanagement. HOAs typically have strict rules regarding the exterior of the home. You may not be able to add on to your home or even paint it a certain color without approval. Some HOAs may also have restrictions on how you decorate the exterior of your home. For example, certain signs and flags may be prohibited.
Mismanagement is also common. Inexperienced leaders may not make the right decisions. They may fail to perform required maintenance. They may also mishandle money, causing budget problems.
Look for Lawsuits
If you’re interested in a home that is part of an HOA, you’ll want to know about any recent or pending lawsuits. If there have been many, that’s a red flag.
Homeowners can sue their HOA for reasons such as:
- Excessive fees and restrictions. This is a common reason for lawsuits. Many HOA members feel the fees are too high or there are too many restrictions.
- Breach of contract. Any business or organization can be sued for breach of contract if they fail to perform their necessary duties.
- Breach of fiduciary duty. This refers to mismanagement of funds or fraud.
Assess the HOA’s Financial Situation
Is the HOA lacking money? Has it had to increase fees lately? If so, these are red flags. You don’t want to move into a community, only to see the fees go up shortly after. Understand your legal rights. You may be able to request an annual audit or view financial reports to look for any signs of fraud. A lawyer can help.
Contact a Bradenton Business Litigation Lawyer Today
Homeowners associations come with pros and cons. While they can be helpful in some ways, they can be pricey and filled with seemingly unnecessary restrictions.
Are you dealing with an HOA dispute? If so, contact the Bradenton business litigation attorney at the Cahall Law Firm. We can assess your claim and help you get a favorable outcome. Schedule a free confidential consultation. Call (941) 281-2019 and fill out the online form.