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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

What happens when homeowners' association members don't pay?

Whether due to forgetfulness or temporary inability, many California residents neglect to pay a bill at some point in their lives. In some cases, it is easy to resolve the issue by paying the bill as soon as possible. A late fee may have to be paid, but that puts an end to the matter. Unfortunately, when this happens to homeowners' association members, it may not be quite that simple.

For example, a woman who is a member of an HOA in another state says that she somehow forgot to pay her dues in Jan. 2017. The matter managed to slip her mind until October of that year when she received a letter from an attorney representing the HOA, along with a lawsuit filed against her. According to the lawsuit, her missed payment of $310 became $2,967.37.

The Washington woman says that she attempted to work something out, and thought the matter was resolved until she received another bill in Jan. 2018 for $4,078. As it turns out, the amount of her dues, plus late fees came to less than the attorney's fees in the matter. She has apparently paid close to $8,000 for attorney's fees as well as late fees to the HOA. Sadly, this woman's plight may not be as isolated as California homeowners may want to believe.

What homeowners' association members may not realize is that HOAs tend to have considerable power when it comes to collecting dues. For those considering purchasing a home in a community with an HOA, or for current homeowners who wonder if this could happen to them, it may be a good idea to closely scrutinize all of the documentation relevant to the HOA and the payment of dues. Many people fail to understand the fine print and could find themselves in a situation similar to the one in which this woman found herself.

Source: kiro7.com, "South Sound woman billed nearly $8,000 for late $300 HOA payment", Joanna Small, May 7, 2018

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