Several Facts You Should Know About Homeowners’ Associations

Are you in interested in purchasing property located within a homeowner’s association?  Well, you should start by understanding as much about the homeowner’s association as possible.  Here are several facts you should know about homeowners’ associations before you purchase a property located within a homeowners’ association.

(1) The Costs.  Living in a homeowners’ association can be expensive.  You will be expected to pay fees to maintain the common elements.  Those fees can be increased every year.  Moreover, you may also be required to pay for periodic special assessments for emergencies.  Therefore, you should study the homeowners’ association’s finances in great detail before you purchase a property located within a homeowners’ association.  When looking through the financials you should determine how often and by how much the association has raised their dues and passed special assessments to determine if said increases are reasonable or not.

(2) Restrictions.  One of the main obligations of a homeowners’ association is to maintain the common areas.  This means you may be restricted from painting your unit certain colors.  You may also be restricted in selling and/or renting your unit.  There may also be pet restrictions and landscaping restrictions.  It is therefore imperative that you understand the exact nature of the restrictions in place before you purchase your unit.

(3) Foreclosure.  In Florida, our legislators have armed homeowners’ association with a lot of powers to ensure compliance with the homeowners’ association’s rules and regulations.  This includes initiating foreclosure proceedings against you for your lack of payment of dues owed even if you are current on your mortgage.  Under this scenario you would ultimately lose your property to the homeowners’ association in a foreclosure should the homeowners’ association file suit against you.  Therefore, you should not engage in any activity that would trigger a default and result in a foreclosure.

The solution?

Research the homeowners’ association thoroughly before you complete your purchase.  Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting into before you make that purchase.  You should engage in all of the necessary due diligence to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the homeowners’ association.