A homeowners association fee is a periodic fee paid by homeowners living in a homeowners association community to help with maintenance and improvement of the property, amenities, and common areas. The fee varies across homeowners associations, and the amount levied on homeowners depends on the services provided and the community’s needs.
When an individual purchases a home in a homeowners association development, they automatically join the HOA, and they are required to uphold the existing rules and pay the HOA fees. If a homeowner decides not to pay the HOA fee within an HOA development, the association may take legal action against the delinquent members. However, where HOA fees are not mandatory, homeowners who do not contribute the fee do not get access to common areas or maintenance services.
A homeowners association fee is a monthly fee paid by homeowners living in a homeowners association development.
The HOA fee assists with the maintenance and improvements of common areas such as clubhouses, lawns, swimming pools, lobbies, and elevators.
The HOA fee comprises two main components – a maintenance fee and a reserve fund.
Understanding Homeowners Association Fees
One of the benefits of living in an HOA development is the shared amenities provided to homeowners living in the community. The HOA members enjoy access to various amenities such as swimming pools, spas, fitness centers, and even clubhouses, which are jointly maintained to benefit community members.
Apart from such amenities, members also benefit from the security, lawn care, pest control, maintenance, and repairs, etc. All the benefits come at a cost, and homeowners living in the community are required to help shoulder the expenses.
The fees contributed by homeowners are known as HOA fees and can sometimes be referred to as assessment or maintenance fees. The amount of HOA fees is determined every year by the board of directors of the property.
Depending on the HOA’s bylaws, the fee may be paid every month, quarterly, or annually. Before purchasing a property in a homeowners association development, it is important to understand how HOA fees are calculated and the benefits to expect in return for contributing the fee.
How Much are HOA Fees?
The amount of HOA fees contributed by homeowners vary depending on the benefits provided. A typical single-family household may be required to pay a monthly fee of $200 to $300. The fee can go up to $700 per month in upmarket properties with exclusive facilities, such as conference facilities and fitness centers.
The HOA fees can vary depending on the property values, size of the property, and quality of amenities offered, among others. Usually, the more services and benefits provided to homeowners, the higher the fees.
The HOA fees comprise two main components – a maintenance fee and a reserve fund. A large portion of the HOA fee goes towards the maintenance of the HOA’s amenities and services. It may include maintaining common areas like lobbies and courtyards, landscaping, swimming pool cleaning and maintenance, etc.
The other portion of HOA fees goes towards building a reserve fund, which acts as a safety net in case of emergencies and long-term replacements, such as roof and plumbing.
What Do HOA Fees Cover?
Homeowners associations require insurance to protect the common areas from damage. The insurance also protects the exterior of homes within the development. A homeowners association can buy a master policy that protects the property from specific risks. The most common policies for associations include flood insurance, theft insurance, liability insurance, and directors’ insurance.
Depending on the type of property, location, and type of common areas, a homeowners association may be required to purchase add-ons for specific facilities. Homeowners still need to buy an insurance policy to cover areas that fall under their responsibility, such as the interior of the house and the outside of a townhouse or detached home.
Maintenance of Communal Areas
The homeowners association is responsible for the maintenance of all communal areas. Lawn care and gardening for clubhouses, shared roads, parking lots, and other shared areas are included as part of the HOA fees.
The HOA is also responsible for snow removal, roof repairs and replacement, and maintenance of equipment within the shared areas. For detached houses, homeowners are required to take care of their lawns and follow maintenance guidelines provided by the association.
HOA developments that frequently experience pest problems may include the cost of pest inspections, control, and treatments in the HOA fee. The fee mostly covers common areas and the exterior of the building. Detached homes are unlikely to receive pest control services, and homeowners are required to pay the pest control costs.
One of the benefits that residents in HOA developments get is the shared amenities and services. Homeowners get access to a fitness center, swimming pool, tennis court, clubhouse, security services, security lighting, and security cameras.
HOAs located in upmarket areas may provide homeowners with additional luxury services, such as valet services and fully equipped fitness centers with trainers. The cost of running and maintaining such amenities is included in the HOA fees.
Homeowners associations allocate a portion of the homeowner dues to the reserve fund, which acts as a savings account that the association can use to meet emergency costs and unexpected expenditures. The reserve fund may also be used to fund budgeted and planned major renovations, such as roof replacement, installing street lights, or servicing an elevator machine.
If the reserve fund is insufficient, the board of directors may require homeowners to contribute a special fee to cover the planned repairs or installations.
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