If you own a townhome, condo, or other type of attached dwelling, you may be obligated to pay Homeowners’ Association (HOA) or Condominium Association (COA) fees. These fees typically help to pay for building maintenance and yard work, trash and sewage, insurance and repairs in the event of a natural disaster, such as severe rain or wind damage.
Again, you are obligated to pay these fees; payment is not optional. That being said, there may be a number of reasons that you stop paying your HOA fees, ranging from frustration regarding an HOA decision or failure to correct a problem to personal financial reasons. If you stop paying your HOA fees, here’s a look into what can happen–
You’ll Receive a Demand Notice…
The first thing that will happen if you fail to pay your HOA fees is that you will receive a demand notice from your homeowners’ association. This demand notice must tell you how much you owe, how many days late on your payment you are, and whether or not you have accrued any interest or late fees as a result. The letter must also tell you what action the HOA is planning to take against you if your HOA dues continue to go unpaid.
…And Then Your HOA Can Take Action Against You
Once your demand notice has been set, you have until the due date stipulated to make your payment. If you do not make your payment by the due date, the HOA can then take any actions against you that were outlined in the demand notice. This may include:
- Placing a lien against your condo/townhome;
- Revoking privileges that are associated with the HOA, such as the use of a gym or a swimming pool; and
- Filing a lawsuit against you to recover the debt you owe the HOA.
It should be noted that the state of Massachusetts favors HOA/COA boards when it comes to delinquent dues, and protects boards via the process of a super lien. Essentially, if an HOA files a lien against you, it is given priority over all other non-municipal liens. Additionally, if a homeowner and its mortgage company simply ignored the process set forth by the association to collect the unpaid fees, they risk losing the property in that the association can pursue a court action to collect their fees and in doing so, actually have an auction of the property. This is generally a rare occurrence because usually the homeowner or the mortgage company will step in and pay the outstanding fees along with all the legal fees and costs incurred.
What Your Options Are if You Stop Paying HOA Fees
Not paying your HOA fees is never a good option; if you have an issue with your HOA, finding another way to resolve it rather than withholding HOA payment is advised. If you are unable to pay your HOA for economic reasons, you should speak with your HOA – in some cases, they may be able to devise a payment plan.
If you are facing legal consequences, such as a lawsuit, as a result of unpaid HOA dues, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. At the law offices of Deborah Gold-Alexander Attorney at Law, our attorneys has over 30 years’ experience representing those facing unpaid HOA dues and legal action. To learn more about how we can help to protect you, call Deborah Gold-Alexander Attorney at Law today at 781-289-4235. An initial consultation is free.