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10 Tips for Dealing With Your Homeowners' Association

Increasing Rates

What do you do if the HOA keeps increasing your dues at alarming rates? First of all, pay them. There are too many risks involved, including foreclosure, if you don't. Second, review your deeds and bylaws to see what your legal rights are. If you can initiate intelligent dialogue with the HOA board, do so. Unfortunately, HOAs have reputations for being set in their bylaws and, if you don't have any legal basis for your objection to the rate increase, you might be out of luck.

Power is in numbers. If other homeowners feel the same way about the rate increase, join with them. You could hire one lawyer collectively to represent the case and needs of all homeowners who object. The rate hike should be significant enough to make you feel passionate in pursuing legal action because the risk of losing outweighs what the hike will cost you in money and willingness to conform to the HOA's policy changes in the future. The more people that object to the rate increase, the better off your case will be.

The board determines the rate of dues. If the HOA needs more money, as it may during a recession or if construction and maintenance is required to keep facilities up to code, it is more likely to increase rates or begin assessing homeowners for violations resulting in fines.