Are homeowner’s Associations for you?

Posted by Gurpreet Ghatehora on Friday, April 24th, 2015 at 10:26am.

Homeowner’s Associations can be a really great thing for a neighbourhood. Comprised of people who live in the neighbourhood, an HOA is in place to help neighbourhoods beautify their space and tackle important projects they may fall outside the responsibilities of the city. All of that considered, lots of people don’t like the idea of an HOA, and that when one exists, you are automatically a part of it when you purchase a home in a specified area. Why? Because there are fees.

How much?

This really depends on the association, the city, and the neighbourhood it takes care of. HOA dues are collected yearly (generally) and go toward things like painting fences that are in common public areas within the neighbourhood, maintaining an outdoor pool (if there is one) etc. These fees can range from $100-$400 monthly or yearly – depending on if you are in a gated community or a condominium building. In condos, HOA fees typically cover expenses like garbage collection, building maintenance and some utilities, so the fees are most often higher.

The dilemma

There are lots of HOA’s out there these days, and they are built at the behest of a neighbourhood when the needs of the community to get to the point where management is needed – not all neighbourhoods that have single family homes have one. Almost every apartment building or condominium does, however, have an HOA or condo board that manages the maintenance and upkeep of the building and property. In this respect, its easy to see why it would be necessary. The only problem is that when a need arises (say a new roof) for a condo building, and the reserve fund (the account where all your fees sit) doesn’t have enough to cover the expense, you as the homeowner will be expected to pitch in additional funds to cover the difference. This can be very costly, not to mention unexpected. 

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