Post # 1
I purchased a home 1 year ago. Last week I got a letter in the mail that stated that the HOA (which has been inactive for 10 years) now needs money and they are going to collect $120/year from each house starting now.
I was never told that my house was in an HOA. My contract says that it is not in an HOA and my title company also said that it is not in a HOA. But apparently it is… I went to the HOA meeting this weekend and I was amongst about 50 other people who were in the same boat as me. I know that I have to pay the dues and I plan to do so. I know that $120/year isn’t really a lot of money compared to what other HOA’s charge. But I am still pretty mad that I wasn’t made aware of the existence of the HOA when I went to buy the house. Imagine if the HOA decided to collect $120/month?
My question is, who dropped the ball here? Was it the title company? The realtor? Apparently the previous home owners (who lived there for 9 years) were not aware of the existence of the HOA. Is it the HOA’s fault for being dormant for so long?
Post # 3
What will the HOA provide in return for your $10/month?
I have no idea whose fault that is! It sounds fishy…
Post # 4
It definitely sounds fishy and you’re totally right to be mad about it! I’d be trying to get to the bottom of it, contacting the city/county or whatever local municipality before I’d be paying money for something that isn’t in my contract!
Post # 5
This is something the owners should have disclosed. What state do you live in? I’d check and see what laws are in place. For instance, in Virginia, it is legally required of the owner to send you the HOA rules and regulations and you are able to back out of your contract should you not like anything about the HOA. I’m no lawyer, but you might be able to find a loop-hole to get you out of paying anything.
Post # 6
- Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall
@kelly105: Yikes – what did the other homeowners that were unaware think? Maybe you should get together with them and visit an attorney.
Post # 7
I agree that you might be able to find a loophole. It sounds really shady, and if it’s not in your contract and wasn’t disclosed to you, I would assume that you can say you aren’t obligated to pay it. If you really want to fight it, consult a lawyer.
Post # 8
@kelly105: Sounds like a good gig to me! “Hey, you owe me $120.”
I would revolt with your neighbors and refuse to pay until they at least showed me what I would get for my $120 or held a new vote on 1) the existence of the HOA, and 2) what it did/who ran it/how much I’d have to pay.
Post # 9
@peachacid: There are 2 storm water retention ponds (I don’t even know where they are) but the money covers the cost of mowing the lawn surrounding the pond.
From what I could find out, they HOA had a surplus of $50,000 ten years ago. Someone has been paying the bills for the lawn mowing service all this time. The HOA board members do not know who is paying the bills (seriously?) but money has been deducted from the HOA bank account and the lawn mower man is being paid.
But now the HOA is out of money, so they are collecting again. I mean, I really don’t mind paying this $120/year. It just sucks because it was a bill I wasn’t expecting and I just want to know who is to blame for the oversight. This would be a terrible circumstance if the HOA charged something crazy like $100/month or something.
Post # 10
@RunsWithBears: yes, I am in PA and we have the same law. But I think that law only gets you out of purchasing the house. But I obviously purchased the house and I am the owner so I am legally obligated to pay the bill – even though I was not made aware of the HOA.
I checked this out already – my aunt is a real estate agent in another state and she told me that I still have to pay.
But I would like to know if anyone could be held accountable for this…
Post # 11
@kelly105: Even if the money isn’t a huge deal, it’s the principle. It’s a terrible circumstance to be told that you “owe” money for something that you never agreed to in the first place! I would definitely talk to a lawyer for advice, because what is to stop them from saying “actually, it’s $120 a month” if it’s not in your contract in the first place? DO NOT pay anything until you have something in writing explicitly stating how much and for what you are expected to pay. Please protect yourself from this getting worse later!
Post # 12
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@kelly105: I would talk to a real estate attorney about this ASAP. I’m not sure how legal it is to reinstate an HOA that has been disbanded. There is typically an HOA rider on your mortgage when you purchase a home in an HOA community.
Post # 13
Surely there are HOA formation documents somewhere? I’d be demanding that the board allow me to review those. They should be providing documentation of what the HOA’s responsibilities are, as well as whether there are any restrictions on your property (fence height, house color, etc.) that you need to be aware of. I would think they need to provide an annual accounting of how the funds are being spent as well? Strange that the title report didn’t show the existence of HOA restrictions on the property.
Post # 14
@kelly105: Hmmm… this is very strange. My FI is an engineer, and did a lot of drainage ponds in PA during the start of his career, and he said if you’re in a newer community, it’s likely the HOA who pays for the maintenance. However, there’s also a chance the Municipality/Township SHOULD be paying for it. It all depends on the agreement. There aren’t any set rules, but I would look into it. Responsibility almost always falls on the developer/owner, but he did suggest to call the Municipality or look up the zoning ordinance online.
Hope this helps…
Post # 15
I don’t know who is at fault, I’d say the HOA itself and whoever the hell is running it. But before I forked over any cash whatsoever I’d make sure they have provided everyone with proper documentation of the current HOA acct balances, WHO is in charge of the money, is it a management company? a homeowner? As well as any documentation regarding HOA requirements etc…. Just cover your bases so you aren’t giving 120 bucks per year to joe blow down the street who’s mowing the lawn’s himself and pocking everyone’s cash…
Post # 16
@Jen041815: Yes. We went to the HOA meeting this past weekend. This was the first HOA meeting held in over 10 years. The HOA board printed out hundreds of copies of the HOA bylaws and distributed them at the meeting.
The people on the board are just volunteers – they are people who live in my community and they just volunteered to run the HOA (because someone has to). I think they just completely sucked at running the thing and let it fall apart to the point that realtors, title agencies, home owners, think the HOA dissolved.
Most people want the HOA to be dissolved (including the board members). They looked into what it would take to do that and it is a near impossibility. They would have to get all 140 homeowners and their mortgage companies to sign off on it.
But at the end of the day we the homeowners are responsibile for the upkeep of these retention ponds. And if say, someone fell in the pond and wanted to sue – they could sue all the homeowners collectively. I mean, that’s really the biggest deal right there. THAT information would have been good to know before I bought the property!