If just a few homeowners aren’t paying their HOA fees it can be felt very quickly in an association’s budget. It can also cause a ripple effect. If too many homeowners fail to pay their HOA fees, lenders might start to be unwilling to finance mortgages in the association. This could lead to a decrease in property values.
Every HOA's number one priority is the legal fiduciary responsibility to enhance and maintain their property. The only way to do that is by collecting HOA fees. That's why a clear collection policy is a must-have for your HOA board.
Sounds like fun, right? Maybe not. However, it's important to communicate a detailed collection plan for HOA fees. By managing homeowner expectations about fees and the need for timely payment, you can help your board (and especially your treasurer) meet their goals and reduce the need for costly fee collection.
Keeping assessments from constantly increasing in a homeowners association is one of the most important things an HOA board and its members can strive to do. The Association must balance keeping up with all its financial obligations and making sure fees stay as low as possible. Generally, these two feel like they work against each other.
The reserve fund of a homeowners association is often misunderstood by members and sometimes the HOA board as well. Some see it as a slush fund that is to be used on a "rainy day"' when the association gets low on cash in the operating account. Others, although they may understand the need to have some measure of reserve cash, do not make the connection that reserve funds are being reserved for the particular components within the community that the association is responsible for, such as roads, roofing, siding, fencing, painting, and equipment replacement.
Homeowner associations are sometimes faced with special circumstances that arise even when they’ve done an excellent job of planning for replacement costs. Large-scale repairs, emergency situations, or capital improvement projects may occur that put their reserves dangerously low. Special HOA assessments, in addition to monthly HOA fees, could then be the best option.
Working for one of the largest HOA management companies in Northern California I get a lot of phone calls from distressed HOA board members. I hear the same story emerging from these different homeowners association. It’s a sad pattern that is all too common. The story goes something like this:
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.
Tax season is here and we all want to deduct every last penny we can find. If you’re a member of a homeowners association, have you ever considered whether or not the HOA fees you pay are tax deductible? Every HOA is different, so you’ll want to find out what applies to your specific Association.
Part of being a member in a California homeowners association is the routine practice of having to pay monthly HOA fees. It's easy to get frustrated if you're unclear on what purpose these fees serve, especially if the HOA board ever makes the decision to increase the amount. Whether you've been living in an HOA for a while now, or are considering buying a home in an HOA, asking the question what do HOA fees cover? can save you from unexpected financial surprises.
There is no way to sugar-coat a special assessment. Receiving a notice that you owe more money to your homeowners association can not only put a damper on your day but also a dent in your wallet, both of which the board is sympathetic to. In a perfect world, there would never be a need for special assessments—or any other type of assessments for that matter—but sadly; they are sometimes a necessary evil.