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.
- Bank of America. "Glossary." Bankofamerica.com. 2011. (March 7, 2011). http://myhome.bankofamerica.com/#/glossary
- Bankrate. "Restrictive covenants protect land value." Bankrate.com. April 26, 2009. (March 7, 2011).http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/restrictive-covenants-hike-property-value.aspx
- Bergemann, Jan. "Charging Outrageous Cost for Record Requests." Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. Oct. 16, 2008. (March 8, 2011). http://www.ccfj.net/CCFJCOSTRECORDREQUEST.htm
- Bergemann, Jan. "Trying to Create an Oligarchy?" Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. Dec. 26, 2005. (March 8, 2011).http://www.ccfj.net/HOAFLleaders3.html
- Bowie, Melia. "Governor says no to neighborhood fee bill." St. Petersburg Times. Republished by Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. June 28, 2003. (March 8, 2011).http://www.ccfj.net/HOAGovvetobill.html
- Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. "Florida Articles: Man's Best Friend -- Pets?" (March 8, 2011).http://www.ccfj.net/HOAartFLpets.htm
- Community Associations Institute. "Industry Data." 2011. (March 7, 2011).http://www.caionline.org/info/research/Pages/default.aspx
- The Daytona News Journal. "School buses at the gate." Republished by Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. April 6, 2005. (March 8, 2011). http://www.ccfj.net/HOAFLschoolbusunwanted.html
- Eckman, Kate. "Homeowners 'irate' over booted vehicles." NBC Channel 2. Republished by Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. April 30, 2009. (March 8, 2011).http://www.ccfj.net/TVNBC2bootedvehicle.html
- Farley, Robert. "Restriction on pickups may go to court." St. Petersburg Times. Jan. 1, 2002. (March 8, 2011).http://www.sptimes.com/2002/01/01/NorthPinellas/Restriction_on_pickup.shtml
- FindLaw. "CC&R Enforcement and Remedies." Thomson Reuters.(March 8, 2011).http://realestate.findlaw.com/covenants-conditions-restrictions/ccr-enforcement-and-remedies.html
- Glenn, Lauren. "Deed restrictions now the norm." Herald Tribune. July 6, 2003. (March 7, 2011).http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20030706/NEWS/307060445?p=2&tc=pg
- Goodwyn, Wade. "Not So Neighborly Associations Foreclosing On Homes." National Public Radio. June 29, 2010. (March 8, 2011).http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128078864
- Historiccityews.com "Town Hall meeting called by disgruntled owners." Feb. 18, 2010. (March 8, 2011).http://www.historiccity.com/2010/staugustine/news/florida/town-hall-meeting-called-by-disgruntled-owners-2620
- Hoadata.org. "Most active HOAs." 2007. (March 8, 2011).http://pages.prodigy.net/cgi-bin/sunset.cgi?old_request=/hoadata/hoarank07.pdf
- Hutcheson, Nicole. "Flap over truck in driveway to cost Hillsborough community $187,443." St. Petersburg Times. July 29, 2010. (March 8, 2011).http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/flap-over-truck-in-driveway-to-cost-hillsborough-community-187443/1111730
- Los Angeles Times. "Two-thirds 'annoyed' with HOA, survey says." Sept. 05, 2007. (March 8, 2011).http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/2007/09/two-thirds-anno.html
- Miller, Kimberly. "HOAs fight back against homeowner behind on fees." The Palm Beach Post. Jan. 14, 2011. (March 8, 2011).http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/foreclosures/hoas-fight-back-against-homeowner-behind-on-fees-1186582.html?sort=desc
- Pensa, Patty. "Boca homeowners group orders cancer-stricken woman to take down dog fence." Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. Jan. 14, 2002. (March 8, 2011).http://www.ccfj.net/hoafence.htm
- Rebuild.org. "Pay Your Mortgage and HOA Dues to Avoid Foreclosure." June 18, 2009. (March 8, 2011).http://www.rebuild.org/news-article/pay-your-mortgage-and-hoa-dues-to-avoid-foreclosure/
- Rich, Motoko. "Homeowner Boards Blur Line Of Just Who Rules the Roost." The New York Times. July 27, 2003. (March 8, 2011).http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/us/homeowner-boards-blur-line-of-just-who-rules-the-roost.html?src=pm
- Roth, Anne. "If Your Home is in a Homeowner Association - Your Equity is at Risk." American Homeowner Resource Center. Oct. 6, 2004. (March 3, 2011).
- Samouce, Rob. "Members' new rights to speak at homeowners' association meetings." Samouce, Murrell & Gal, P.A. Dec. 5, 2004. (March 8, 2011).http://www.smglawfirm.com/article_detail.php?detail_id=48
- Senville, Wayne. "The Growing Impact of Homeowners Associations." Planning Northwest. Vol. XVIII. No. 3. American Planning Association, Washington State Chapter. June 2005. (March 8, 2011).http://www.washington-apa.org/newsletters/newsletter0605.html#hoa
- Snell, David. "Restrictive Covenants: A Stop on Your Plot?" Homebuilding & Renovations magazine. Dec. 2009. (March 7, 2011).http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/feature/restrictive-covenants
- Sokol, Marlene. "Tampa community tests limits of homeowner group's power." St. Petersburg Times. Jan. 1, 2011. (March 8, 2011).http://www.tampabay.com/news/tampa-community-tests-limits-of-homeowner-groups-power/1142940
- Thompson, Richard. "HOA Disclosure Exposure." Realty Times. Sept. 8, 2004. (March 8, 2011).http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20040908_hoadisclosure.htm
- Varga, Stephen A. " Homeowners Association FAQs." Law Office of Stephen A. Varga. (March 8, 2011).http://www.svargalaw.com/hoa-law/HOA-FAQs/index.html
- Waller, Nikki. "Attorney general's opinion: Police car fine in driveway." The Miami Herald. Republished by Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. June 17, 2005. (March 8, 2011).http://www.ccfj.net/HOAFLsquadcarAG2.html
- WBPS News 25. "Homeowners Association Shuts Down Kids' Fund-Raiser." Republished by Cyber Citizens for Justice, Inc. Jan. 12, 2005. (March 8, 2011). http://www.ccfj.net/HOAFLkidsfundr.html
- Wilkening, David. "In the Nation: Orlando, Fla.; A Suburban Developer Imposes Preservation Deed Restrictions." The New York Times. Sept. 11, 1988. (March 8, 2011).http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/11/realestate/nation-orlando-fla-suburban-developer-imposes-preservation-deed-restrictions.html
If you own a home, you most likely have homeowners insurance, but how sure are you about what is and isn't covered? HowStuffWorks takes a look.