Can My HOA Prevent Me From Fixing My Car In The Driveway?
Yes. It’s the same issue that you have with the yard. They can limit the number of vehicles that can be kept at the association. They can certainly limit the parking so that it’s not blocking the street, it’s not blocking the sidewalk. They can deal with any repairs that have to be done at the garage, they can even make it that you have to close your garage so people don’t see a car up on blocks or things of that nature. Again, a lot of times those are the reasons why people want to move into the associations because they don’t want to see those types of things or they don’t want their property values to be diminished because it’s the old, if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. You let somebody quickly change a flat once in their driveway and all of a sudden it’s up on 4 blocks and it’s there for 3 months and if there is no rule or regulation to restrict that then the association is going to go into loss and they are going to lose property values and they have to look at that all the time. So yes, they can certainly restrict that if they choose to.
Must I Pay My HOA Dues Or Condo Association Dues For Common Areas That I Don’t Use?
You must. There is a very good answer for that; a practical answer and that is it would be virtually impossible for a board of directors of an association to be able to keep track of who uses the common areas or other amenities. So when you live in an association, you say that I understand that assessments are going to be used for the maintenance of common areas. Those may be a pool, it may be a playground, it may be a Tennis court, it may be things that a person may not have any desire to use or even have the physical ability to use any of those items. As per the fair Housing Act, the association is free to charge assessments to everyone and split it equally and that’s because it would just be too cumbersome and virtually impossible to say that you don’t use the tennis court so we are going to knock 25% off.
Now, you do, in associations sometimes have recreational facilities that may be billed separately. You may have clubs that are associated with, they are actually a different entity but they are associated with the development and are associated with the association and sometimes those are mandatory memberships. So when you live in those areas, you have to belong to the club and you have to pay the dues but sometimes they are split up like you have to belong to the social club but if you want to hold on to let’s say the golf club or the golf and tennis club, that’s voluntary but you have to pay more. Now, in those scenarios, you can segregate those as long as it’s not mandatory. So if you buy a loft, it’s not a mandatory membership and it’s voluntary if you want to join the club. They say it’s okay. It’s $10,000 a year if you want to join that club, then you don’t have to pay for that. But that’s strictly not a common area of the HOA or condominium association. So if you are strictly speaking about condominium and HOA common areas, then a member has to pay in a pool through their assessments just like everyone else does for monies to be spent on the upkeep of those common areas.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay The HOA Special Assessment Fees?
The special assessment, as long as it has been imposed properly and the caveat is because there are different rules per notice and there may be different voting requirements in the position of a special assessment versus a regular maintenance assessment that everybody is used to paying per month or quarterly. But assuming that through the special assessment has been imposed correctly under the statutes under the governing documents, assuming that’s the case, then it becomes incorporated into a person’s ledger and a bill is sent out and they are treated exactly the same as a maintenance assessment for collection purposes. So when a demand letter is issued, let’s say an association says this person is behind a year’s worth for their regular assessments and there is a special assessment of $15,000 because we had a leaky roof that we didn’t reserve for or you had to pay an exorbitant amount of attorney’s fees that you weren’t really expecting for this issue to come up.
So we need to impose a special assessment and we did it and now this person isn’t paying. The ledger will show that they have differentiated the maintenance assessments and the special assessments but they are collectible just like a regular maintenance assessment is. So there will be demand letters that are sent and if worse, aren’t followed through by the member or aren’t paid off and there is no deal that you’ve struck with the association then you are probably going to end up in a foreclosure lawsuit. So if they are imposed correctly then they are kept track of separately within the ledger and within the demand letters but ultimately, if it goes to court, the court wants to know what the total dollar amount is and how you got there. So for collection purposes, there isn’t much difference.
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