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

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

Yes. If you live in a community that is part of a homeowners' association (HOA) and fall behind in your HOA dues or assessments, the HOA most likely will be able to charge you additional fees and/or penalties.

Types of Fees and Penalties the HOA May Charge

The type and amount of fees and penalties that are permissible will depend on the laws of your state and the terms of the HOA’s governing documents, such as bylaws and the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).

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

  • late fees (the amount is set by the governing documents, but may be limited by state law)
  • reasonable costs incurred in collecting the delinquent assessment (including attorneys’ fees and court costs), and
  • interest on all sums due.

When you purchase a home in a covenanted community, you should be sure to read the HOA governing documentsas well as review your state’s lawsso you know what kind of fees and penalties the association can charge you if you don’t keep up with the assessments. (To learn more about how to do your own legal research, see Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research section.)

The HOA May Foreclose or Sue to Collect Delinquent Amounts

Once you become delinquent in assessments and various fees and penalties have been imposed, the HOA will likely pursue whatever legal means are necessary and available to collect this debt. This means that if you don’t pay up, the HOA may:

Talk to an Attorney

If you're facing a potential HOA foreclosure, consider talking to a foreclosure attorney to learn about different options for your particular situation.

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