Whether you live in a tiny condominium complex or a sprawling golf community, you have likely heard of homeowners association fees – better known as HOA fees.
Typically paid by residents monthly or quarterly, these dues cover maintenance costs like lawn care, snow removal, and pest control. They may also pay for community amenities such as a pool or clubhouse.
Below, we discuss HOA fees in more detail. We also discuss how HOA fees can help neighborhood boards increase property values while improving quality of life for residents.
What is an HOA Fee?
An HOA fee is a recurring due paid by owners of residential properties. These dues are collected by the community board to pay for specific services and amenities such as parks, tennis courts, and swimming pools.
Condominiums and apartment owners are almost always expected to pay HOA fees. However, boards of single-family neighborhoods commonly levy HOA fees as well.
What Do HOA Fees Cover
Exactly what an HOA fee does and doesn’t pay for depends on the community. But typically, dues cover:
Maintenance and Repairs
A portion of monthly fees may be allocated to maintaining common areas like parking lots, sidewalks, and neighborhood roads. If you own a condo or apartment, this may also include the upkeep of the building’s outside walls and roof.
HOAs carry insurance in case of physical damage to any structures or shared spaces owned by the board. Comprehensive policies also protect the association from damages and costs in the event of a lawsuit.
Many HOA communities provide access to amenities such as pools, clubhouses, golf greens, and tennis courts. Some even have fully-staffed fitness centers or on-site restaurants.
HOAs often provide civic services like garbage removal and security.
A well-governed HOA board will set aside a portion of monthly dues for reserve funds. These monies may be tapped for non-recurring projects, like replacing the clubhouse roof or mending a community fence.
What Are the Benefits of HOA Fees?
HOA fees provide neighborhood boards with the resources they need to build thriving communities. More specifically, the two primary benefits of HOA fees include:
- Higher Property Values: By regularly collecting dues, HOAs can keep shared spaces like parks, roads, and sidewalks well-maintained. This boosts property values and makes homes stand out in today’s competitive market.
- Increased Quality of Life: HOA fees allow boards to provide residents with convenient services like garbage removal, lawn care, and security. Residents can also enjoy amenities such as walking trails and swimming pools.
How Much Is the Average HOA Fee?
HOA fees vary drastically, depending on the type of community and the amenities and services offered. In the Carolinas, residents can pay between $100 and $1,000 per month. The average, though, is $200 to $300.
How Are HOA Fees Determined?
HOA fees are determined by a neighborhood’s board of directors. This committee will consider the operating expenses of the community, including recurring charges like lawn care and one-off costs like purchasing a new grill for the community clubhouse. The HOA will consider contributions to the reserve fund as well.
Once the board arrives at a final cost, they will divide it up equally among all homeowners – including themselves. They will also determine the fee schedule (e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually).
What Are Special Assessments?
Some HOAs keep fees low in hopes of lessening the burden on residents. However, these efforts often backfire when unexpected expenses arise and reserve funds fall short.
If an HOA doesn’t have the cash to address an unforeseen issue, the board may impose special assessments. These charges pay for major, non-routine maintenance like replacing the plumbing in the community fitness center or resodding the golf greens after a flood.
Who Manages HOA Fees?
HOA boards are responsible for managing the money they collect. But remaining financially solvent is easier said than done. Between tracking accounts payable and ensuring compliance with state and federal laws, board members often have limited bandwidth for big-picture planning.
Fortunately, there’s a better solution. As the leading provider of HOA management services in North and South Carolina, Community Association Management equips association boards with the tools required to nurture thriving communities. We provide a suite of flexible services, including intuitive accounting solutions, for HOAs across the Carolinas.
HOA Fee FAQs
Who pays HOA fees?
HOA fees are paid by owners of residential properties. HOA board members – the individuals collecting and managing these monies – also pay monthly or quarterly dues.
What happens if someone doesn’t pay their HOA fees?
If someone fails to pay their dues, the HOA may have the right to take action against the delinquent homeowner. The association may fine the homeowner, for instance. Or, they may pursue litigation.
When are HOA fees paid?
That depends on the community. Some HOA boards collect dues annually or quarterly. But typically, HOA fees are paid monthly.
Can HOA fees increase?
An HOA can typically raise dues as much as it needs to meet operating expenses. In some communities, the board will set limits on how much fees can increase. These limits are typically delineated in the community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, and Easements (CC&Rs).
Do boards need help managing HOA fees?
Yes. Collecting monthly dues is a tedious and thankless task. Even worse is addressing delinquent homeowners. HOA management firms can help by streamlining these tasks, ensuring that your neighborhood complies with state and federal laws while remaining financially solvent.