We all have heard the question time and time again, "Why do my HOA fees continue to increase?” Although it may not be news most homeowners want to hear, sometimes an increase in fees is the best way to keep the homeowners association in good financial health.
Here are some of the reactions homeowners typically have when they hear that their fees are about to increase:
"I can’t afford the increase in HOA fees.”
When you live in a homeowners association, you need to be willing to share the costs, as described in the governing documents to which you agreed in escrow. Keep in mind that if the homeowners association does not maintain its property, real-estate values can decline.
"I probably won’t be living here in 15 years when the streets need repaving. Why should I have to pay for an increase in fees now?”
Senior citizens, as well as young people living in condos they consider to be starter homes, often pose this question. The problem with this "short-timer” logic is that these people are themselves benefiting from the use of the streets, pool, and other common assets paid for by members who lived there before. Members should pay for the incremental use of these items each year that they live within the homeowners association community.
"Why don’t we just have a special assessment for a specific project?”
It can be difficult to collect money when you suddenly have a large expense. It's better to collect it gradually so the funds are there when you need them. Also, a special increase in HOA fees unfairly penalizes homeowners who happen to live in the homeowners association at the time.
If these complaints sound all too familiar to you, try and remember to be a voice of encouragement to those that do not understand the basic fundamentals of living in a homeowners association.
Refer owners to their dusty set of governing documents that they received in escrow and show them where the "Homeowners Association Responsibilities” are discussed within their CC&Rs. If they do not have a copy of their governing documents, the Association’s management company will always have a set to provide to them.
Remember, although it’s often inconvenient when there is an increase in HOA fees, the purpose of the increase is to keep the homeowners association in good financial health and a desirable place to live.