If I don't pay HOA assessments, can my HOA charge fees or penalties?

If you fall behind in HOA dues or assessments, your homeowners' association can likely charge late fees and penalties.

Question

If I don't pay the assessments that my HOA is saying I owe, can the association charge me fees or penalties?

Answer

Yes, probably. If you live in a community that's part of a homeowners' association (HOA) and fall behind in your dues or assessments, the HOA can most likely charge you additional fees or penalties.

Types of Fees and Penalties the HOA May Charge

The type and amount of fees and penalties that the HOA can charge depends on your state's laws and the terms of the HOA's governing documents, like the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).

Generally, if you don't pay the HOA assessments, the association may charge you for:

  • late fees (the CC&Rs might say how much the HOA can charge or state law could limit it)
  • reasonable costs incurred in collecting the delinquent assessment, including attorneys' fees and court costs, and
  • interest on all sums due.

When you buy a home in a community that has an HOA, you should be sure to read the association's governing documents, as well as review your state's laws. That way, you'll know what kind of fees and penalties the association can charge if you don't keep up with the assessments.

The HOA Might Foreclose or Sue to Collect Delinquent Amounts

Once you become delinquent in assessments, and the HOA has imposed various fees and penalties, the association will likely pursue whatever legal means are necessary and available to collect this debt. So, if you don't pay up, the HOA might:

Talk to an Attorney

If you're facing a potential foreclosure by your HOA, consider talking to a foreclosure attorney to learn about different options, like how to get caught up on payments, in your particular situation.

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