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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Homeowners' association members should review their statements

When hunting for a place to buy, many California residents look for certain amenities that communities provide. Those amenities are not free, however. More often than not, in order for homeowners to enjoy everything a community has to offer, they must become homeowners' association members and pay dues.

Most people just put their dues statements into a drawer, filing cabinet or even the trash without scrutinizing them. That could be a mistake. Some HOAs attempt to add in additional charges, often under the heading of "miscellaneous" charges.

For instance, one homeowner in another state discovered something called a "disclosure fee" on a statement. The fee supposedly covered the cost of providing information regarding the HOA during the purchase or sale of the property. The problem is that those costs should be covered under normal assessments and not be a separate charge.

In Arizona, where the above homeowner is from, this type of fee is legal and can run up to $400. However, when a prospective homeowner attempts to create a budget for living in a certain neighborhood, these types of unexpected fees can cause an issue. It would be a good idea to look carefully at every statement in order to make sure that all of the fees are legal. Any questionable charges could require further investigation.

California homeowners' association members have rights, and one of them is to understand what they are being charged and why. If an HOA board is less than forthcoming about what is included in a statement, consulting with an attorney may be in order. If a review reveals irregularities or other issues, it may be prudent to explore the available legal options.

Source: abc15.com, "HOA fee: Where does the money go?", Joe Ducey, Feb. 28, 2018

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