HOA fees or dues can make an already expensive mortgage just too much to afford when financial troubles, health challenges or job changes come your way. How do you get out of paying HOA dues? Is it possible to just quit the HOA?
What Does the HOA Do?
HOA fees exist for a reason. The HOA creates and enforces rules for governing the property, and the dues go toward maintenance and paying for perks like a community pool or parks. Because HOA’s are legal entities you sign a binding agreement when joining an HOA that you will pay all the fees associated. Unfortunately, those fees rarely stay the same over time. The longer you live in your home or condo you’ll see that HOA fees rise due to factors like inflation or the rising prices of goods and services.
Because an HOA carefully controls the look and standard of the neighborhood those homes often sell for a higher price compared to homes in other neighborhoods which is a perk– as long as you can afford your HOA. Those expensive fees go towards services such as:
- Snow removal
- Insurance for the shared areas
- Pest control (townhomes and condos)
- Security services (a gate, street lights, cameras)
- Parks, pools and clubhouses
- Maintenance and Repair on the community shared spaces
- Reserve funds (replacing the roof on condos, fixing broken water pipes etc)
If you’re feeling like the perks don’t outweigh the cost and you’re struggling to make ends meet it’s easy to let the HOA payments slide.
Can You Get Out of Paying HOA Dues?
Unfortunately you can’t just ignore your HOA fees. In fact there is no way to get out of HOA fees without selling your home and moving. There are a few options you can look into to try to decrease your payments however:
Ask to See the Budget
Approach your local HOA board and ask to see the budget. Ask for a copy and check to see where the money is going. Get involved and ask questions. You might find that some of that money could be used more wisely and if you get enough support changes could be made to decrease the fees.
Join the HOA Board
If you really want to make a difference join the HOA board that hires contractors to do the work. You’ll be able to look closely at the financials and be a part of the decision making process. You could help renegotiate terms with landscaping or snow removal vendors. You could get the community behind making changes to landscaping costs or hiring new services. As a board member you could be part of reducing non-essential projects that would increase fees from year to year.
If rising HOA fees are making it hard for you to make ends meet then getting involved allows your voice to be heard and to be a part of the solution.
HOA Payment Plan
The HOA needs your fees and dues for their work to run smoothly. If people are missing payments or getting behind then they can’t pay the contractors. If you’re in a tight financial situation reach out to your HOA board to see if you can work out a payment plan to help you get caught up and not get further into debt.
There are no guarantees that the HOA will be open to payment plans but it never hurts to ask and it can save you from litigation with un-payed HOA fees.
What Happens if You Can’t Pay HOA Dues?
The HOA can legally take action if you’re delinquent on payments and that looks like fines, liens or a forced foreclosure.
If you fall behind on HOA fees then you will be notified of the late charges associated with your fees. These charges can vary depending on your HOA and will only add to the money you owe.
If you ignore the fines and are still delinquent on your HOA dues then the HOA can take action against you. The HOA can attach a lien to your property for the amount of money you owe the HOA. Liens can make it difficult to refinance or sell your home since you won’t have a clear title.
With a lien on your property the HOA could try to force a non-judicial foreclosure in the state of Utah. Do everything you can to work with the HOA, negotiate terms or try to create a payment plan before the issue gets this bad or you could lose your home.
What Can You Do About High HOA
If money is tight and things aren’t getting any better it would be easy to just ignore the HOA and hope that the problem goes away, unfortunately it won’t go away, the problem will only get bigger.
If your HOA dues are high enough it could potentially detract other buyers unwilling to take on that extra financial burden. If your financial situation has gotten to the point where fees are going unpaid and the maintenance and upkeep of your home is getting neglected then it may just be time to move.
Gary is a trusted Utah investor who purchases homes and condos from people like you, giving you a cash offer and helping you to avoid foreclosure in Utah. Contact Gary today to see how he can help you get out from under your debt and expensive HOA to move on to a better financial future.