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Condo owners...what if you don't pay your association fees?

Started 1322005601.363 in Viewpoints | Last reply 1322091639.803 by MyGirlsMom

At my mother's condo complex there are a lot of people in significant arrears. The Board seems incapable, perhpas due to poor bylaws, or simply incompetent to deal with it. I'm working on getting a better sense of what is going on. As a result the reserve fund is seriously inadequate and the consequences are the burden of the people who do pay because most of the non-payers rent out their condos and aren't around. I've never dealt with this and I'm wondering what other people's associations do to deal with scofflaws. Lawyers are expensive and a lien isn't a short term fix. I can't believe these people just do not pay and have accrued huge back dues. I am equally mystified that it seems to just be accepted because it's too "hard" (for whatever reason) to deal with. It's rediculous and my mom is very frustrated with what's going on. I would like to be able to offer her suggestions on potential solutions.

Thanks.

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catlvr1322006686.4475809 PostsRegistered 5/5/2005

Going to court to put a lien against the property is the only recourse in law. When the condo is sold the HOA will be paid off. There is no way to 'make' people pay. I've lived in a couple of condos and this has always been a problem.

Suing people is expensive too and I doubt the HOA has the financial means to pursue that route.

catlvr

tammarra1322007222.143143 PostsRegistered 9/9/2011
On 11/22/2011 catlvr said:

Going to court to put a lien against the property is the only recourse in law. When the condo is sold the HOA will be paid off. There is no way to 'make' people pay. I've lived in a couple of condos and this has always been a problem.

Suing people is expensive too and I doubt the HOA has the financial means to pursue that route.

catlvr

Thanks, catlvr. That about sums up what my mom has said. There are liens on the condos but no incentive for people to sell. From what I can tell it is the opposite as they just skate along collecting the rent. Seems like a serious flaw in how these things operate.

clemintine1322009671.5318197 PostsRegistered 11/5/2007C.C.

I don't own a condo, but couldn't the association send the bill for the fee to the persons actually living in the unit? They're the ones using the place, not the owner. It could work.

OR NOT

Qwackertoo1322010328.710139 PostsRegistered 9/16/2006

They finally followed up on this issue at our HOA & C-HOA at our property up in TN. From what I recall, it was only a nominal 8.00 filing fee per lien, I'm on the board but not Treasurer so don't remember the exact amount but it wasn't much and NO LAWYER necessary. At present, they are only filing them when someone reaches 2K in arrears. Since dues are ONLY 500.00 per year, those that only own one tract or one condo could take 4 years to get to that point, many own multiple tracts or multiple condos so they reach the threshold much quicker.

We pay, and pay on time . . . but there really is no incentive to do so. We could easily go 3 years 11 months without paying and keep our money in the bank. BUT we know there are expenses involved in keeping up the horse trails, lake, landscaping and maintenance of common areas, security lighting, etc. so we pay.

The only true way to change it, cuz even after four years all our HOA - C-HOA would have is piece of paper for the lien. The By-Laws need to be changed, made to where there can be late fee, penalties and interest.

Check with your Mom's local jurisdiction court clerk or their website for details and specifics for your locale. Good Luck.


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Poodlepet1322010350.723226 PostsRegistered 9/21/2006Punta Gorda Florida

....she doesn't live in Florida, does she? That's been a really big story here-people bought condos, the economy tanked, people went into foreclosure, and those few who remained were getting outrageous bills from their HOA to pick up the slack for those who were foreclosed upon...honestly? I don't know if this was ever remediated-I doubt it was....I think if it was, we would have heard about it....I wish I could offer more help, but this is a rotten situation....

Poodlepet

foxywoods1322010678.873913 PostsRegistered 8/6/2007

No, the fee is the responsibility of the owner, who should factor in the fee in the total rent.

I was going to add that if the HOA Board principles are all the same people who have been in charge for a long period of time, little will change until they take the democratic approach and vote the dead wood out.

Thats what my former residence's condo association did when it found out the main guy wasn't keeping the books correctly and there was 0 in reserve. All homeowner's fees jumped to triple what it had been and a surcharge was assessed to cover repairs and bolster the reserve.

We ended up paying more but the new Trustees stayed on top of things and made sure all fees were current. Regular HOA meetings were held. Minutes were recorded. They also got a lawyer involved who did pro bono for our association in exchange for one of the Trustee's subcontracting services.

aubnwa011322016791.8536785 PostsRegistered 10/18/2004Cortaro, AZ

I live in a home, not a condo, but we have an HOA & many of the homes were bought when new as investments by out of state folks & rent them out.

Our problem is that almost no one goes to our HOA meetings, so if you do, guess who gets to be on the HOA board? I'm the board secretary simply because I showed up for the meetings! We have a lot of renters & they can't be on the HOA board, only owners.

We've had several homes where the owner hasn't paid the dues for years & our dues, though only $44 a month, pay for the trash pickup for our whole development, as well as the taxes & upkeep for our common landscaped areas. It chaps my hide to know I & the others who pay our dues on time, are subsidizing the deadbeats.

We have an attorney on a retainer to our HOA for a small monthly amount & also have a management company, who now handles the paperwork & fines & such & the guy comes out once & week to make sure everything is looking OK. The homes where the owners didn't pay for years eventually went into foreclosure & we had liens against them. One is currently in foreclosure & the back dues amount to nearly $3K, which would help a lot if & when it goes into the HOA coffers, whenever that home sells.

"Always Be A Little Kinder Than Necessary"-James M. Barrie

tammarra1322027079.75143 PostsRegistered 9/9/2011

Thanks for all the input. I really appreciate hearing the different experiences. I had wondered if something could be written into the bylaws to help address the matter. In this case there are also some who are years behind.

How often do you get financial reports? They get them once a year. I don't think that's often enough for the owners to keep abreast of the goings on, but have no idea what is common.

The old Board was replaced. Wanna hear a good one? Supposedly they had a practice of using the reserve funds to have birthday parties for themselves. Rather extravagant dinners at nice restaurants with entire families invited. Every Board member and family attending all the birthday parties for the other members. So, they are out, but the current Board has issues too. They come up with less than ideal schemes to raise money. Like selling an easement, rather than continuing to rent it out, for a cell phone tower. It would raise money short term but be a loss long term. There may be questionable connections between the office staff and the company that wants to purchase the easement. It isn't pretty. At least the owners get to vote on these proposals.

I will check out the particulars for the state the condo is in. My mom always pays on time and as you can imagine is frustrated when repairs are delayed because the reserve is inadequate. With so many of these deadbeats renting out their condos they do not have to deal with it day to day in the same way as the people who do live there.

Dagna1322051775.7213901 PostsRegistered 2/10/2006

What do the fees cover? I'm wondering if you could amend the bylaws to say that for those who don't pay, there will be no further trash pickup, maintenance, etc., until arrears are fully paid. Renters would then pressure owners to pay up.



MaggieToo1322052017.4878068 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004AZ

Why can't the HOA, after the lien has been in effect for a certain amount of time, just foreclose on the property.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

kitkom1322053860.0635646 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

My dh used to be the treasurer of our HOA. Those who do not pay have a lien placed on their condo. They will have to pay up whenever they sell. Pay now or pay later, you HAVE to pay. If you don't like the dues associated with a HOA, then don't move into one! {#emotions_dlg.mad}

"Happiness is Lake Charlevoix!"

LipstickDi­va1322066921.30736997 PostsRegistered 4/22/2005On the Lake in Ohio
On 11/23/2011 MaggieToo said:

Why can't the HOA, after the lien has been in effect for a certain amount of time, just foreclose on the property.


Foreclosures are very, very expensive and take a lot of time.

You can't buy love but you can adopt it. Adopt, don't shop.

Charming11322067222.8371506 PostsRegistered 7/14/2007

Wow, I've never heard of such mismanagment by an association. I hope you're able to help make a change for you mom and the other responsible residents.

Don't text and drive!


tammarra1322071041.11143 PostsRegistered 9/9/2011
On 11/23/2011 Lyris said:

What do the fees cover? I'm wondering if you could amend the bylaws to say that for those who don't pay, there will be no further trash pickup, maintenance, etc., until arrears are fully paid. Renters would then pressure owners to pay up.

This has potential. Fees cover maintenance, etc., and the gas/heat. If the gas were turned off renters would pressure the owner. These were apartments turned into condos and I don't know how the gas lines are set up but I'll definitely speak to her about it. I'm not sure but I have a feeling we discussed this and there aren't individual meters. They use dumpsters for trash but there may be other things the fees cover that could be withheld.

sgraham301322090441.522563 PostsRegistered 6/2/2006

I don't own a condo but I own a townhouse where I pay association dues every month.If I miss 2 months of payment,I will have my house taken away.This was clearly indicated in the documentation that I signed.The seller of the house didn't pay 2 months of association dues,they were going to try to pawn them off on me.The Association wouldn't let them sell the house to me until the dues were up to date.

missyw11322091625.27332024 PostsRegistered 3/4/2007

They could put a lien on it. But they may never sell the condo.

MyGirlsMom1322091639.80333422 PostsRegistered 12/5/2008

In our private community, we have an HOA board and my husband is the President. We have about thirty homes in total. There is a Vice-President, Secretary and a Treasure. A mandatory annual meeting must be held the second Wednesday in November - everyone is invited but it's usually only the Officers who attend. To save on postage, i'm usually the person who hands out the past years minutes, expenditures and what is currently in the bank. Our Treasurer is a CPA but we also have an outside Auditor to go over the books. Each and Every cent is accounted for.

In the years since my husband has been President, he's only had to go to court once to put a lien on a home. Not only did the home go into foreclosure but it burnt to the ground! Until the bank sells the property, our HOA will not get the PAST dues...the bank is current with the present dues.

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong, because someday in your life you will have been all of these."

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