Dear Claire: What Does an HOA Cover and Do I Have to Pay During COVID?
Navigating Homeowner’s Association Dues: What’s Covered, What’s Not, and How to Handle Payments
As you probably know, if you have a homeowner’s association, that’s what an HOA stands for. HOA dues cover all kinds of things, and depend specifically on your condominium or your complex.
I’ve seen HOA dues as little as $50 a month and as much as $1,200 to $1,500 a month. Obviously, that runs the gambit because you know, downtown you’ve got 24-hour concierge. Also, in some of those small condos, utilities can be included. I have seen heat included, hot water, water, sewer, all kinds of stuff. When you’re buying, you should definitely look at what the homeowner’s association dues cover.
A lot of times there’s amenities like a pool, hot tub, party room, sauna, and gym. Unfortunately, all of those have been closed, or most of them have been closed, during COVID. A lot of the condos I’ve toured lately have the exercise room partitioned off for the sauna and they’re not sure when they’re going to be reopened.
Of course, you still must pay your homeowner association dues because those facilities still must be maintained. In addition to all the facilities, sometimes the common areas are included in maintenance. Mowing the lawn, taking care of the exterior pool, and all those things can be covered by homeowner’s association dues.
Homeowner’s association dues are not typically tax deductible. Also, right now I haven’t heard of any homeowner’s associations that are waiving their HOA dues. I have heard of a few that are changing the dues. I know one specific example right now where they closed the pool, the exercise room, and the party room. Obviously, there’s no need to have all of those things maintained as often and since no one’s using them, they have been able to lower the dues because there’s just less staff maintaining all of that. That’s going to be on a case-by-case basis.
My best advice to you would be to contact the homeowner’s association, whether that’s through a management company or whether it’s self-managed. That would be you reaching out to the president of the homeowner’s association to find out. Ultimately, if you can’t pay your homeowner’s association dues right now, what you could end up doing is postponing them. Typically, there are late fees and interest charged on them, but some homeowner’s associations are waiving them or lowering them if it’s due to COVID. That is the one thing I’ve seen, so it’s very specific to each condominium and it’s going to require you doing a little bit of leg work to talk to the people that are making these decisions to find out. The worst-case scenario is if you can’t pay them and your homeowner’s association isn’t giving any special dispensation right now, the homeowner’s associations can eventually foreclose on the property. Ultimately, however, they’ll put a lien against your property, and you’ll have to pay them eventually if you do decide to sell. Right now, that might be your only option and that is a possibility.
If you have any questions, or if you want to talk through problems that are difficult like this, I’m happy to meet with you and chat with you. If you have any other questions, please direct message me or reach out on my cell phone. Also, check out our Paris Group Realty, LLC YouTube channel where we have all kinds of interesting content. Have a wonderful day and take care.
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