Living in a Florida community governed by a homeowner association brings benefits to many property owners, but these organizations also impose many restrictions. They have broad legal powers to set payments and, under certain considerations, to impose special assessments.
Property owners should read the bylaws of the HOA and understand the appeal process when they disagree with certain conditions.
Investigating unfair rate increases
According to HOA Management, homeowners have a right to question a sudden increase in HOA fees. The first step involves reaching out to the board members to find out the rationale for the increase. Members should also consider attending all HOA meetings and reading all information that comes from an official source. In many HOAs, the board has a responsibility to communicate the reasons for an increase.
If the information seems suspect or arbitrary, the homeowner can then take additional steps. This includes taking formal, legal action. When the homeowner reaches this stage, they should continue to pay all fees and assessments on time. Failure to do so could result in added costs such as interest or penalties.
Understanding the responsibilities of the HOA
An HOA must look out for the financial benefits of its members. That remains the organization’s most significant role. In many cases, raising fees or establishing a special assessment helps the community thrive in the long run.
However, the board members have a responsibility to follow certain principles, and they could face limitations on how often and how high they can raise fees. The board might also have to notify all homeowners by certified mail or some other method about changes to fees.
If something seems wrong with a fee increase, property owners might need to follow the appropriate legal remedies to address the issue.