You’ve been living in your HOA community for quite a while and you believed you knew its rules well. That is, until a few months ago, when suddenly the HOA board started passing out fines like candy at Halloween.
If you don’t agree with your HOAs fines, you may just choose to not pay them. But what happens if you choose to not pay your HOA fines?
Not paying your HOA fines can land you in some serious trouble with your HOA. They cannot take away your home, but they can establish a lien on your house, which also means they could foreclose your home.
Just because you pay your annual fees diligently and you’ve been living in an HOA community for years doesn’t mean you’re exempt from their rules. If you don’t follow the rules of an HOA, then you will be subject to fines.
But if you’re going through financial issues and you can’t pay the funds when they are due, you can ask for more time.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your HOA Fines?
Living in an HOA is like living in a private town. In order to live in that community, everyone must follow rules that are stricter than what these city laws say you can and cannot do.
But, if the HOA does its job, the community will be safer, cleaner, and it will have a strong sense of community.
Living in an HOA means you must comply with the rules. No one is exempt from the rules, or at least they should not be.
If you break those rules, some of those rules may require you to pay a fine as punishment. Just like city violations and state violations, HOA violations and fines will not go away. You must pay the fines.
Handing out fines is not the only action the HOA board can take against a member. Until they paid the fines in full, the board can take away community amenities.
Many HOAs have amenities like the community gym and pool. The HOA board will not prevent a person from accessing community if they have an outstanding fine of $35.
But if the issue is ongoing for months, say goodbye to the pools during the summer months.
Some HOAs even have private trash collection services. If you don’t pay your HOA funds, discard your own trash because they will stop sending the trash services to your home.
After a certain amount of fines have been accumulated without payment, the HOA can sue an HOA member.
What If the Fines Are Too eExpensive?
Fines can accumulate and reach high amounts quickly. If you can’t pay the total amount, you can ask the HOA board for more time through an official appeal or extension process. But, in good faith, you must fix the issue that caused the fine first.
Can an HOA Force You to Sell Your Home?
It can be quite stressful to know that you have to pay multiple finds because you have been violating the rules of your HOA. But nothing is more stressful than believing a HOA can force you to sell your home if the accumulated cost of the fines becomes too great.
This is not true. Although the total cost of the funds can grow bigger and bigger, in the end, the law does not allow the HOA to force a homeowner to sell their home to pay for the fines.
However, if the total cost of the fees surpasses an amount like $1,000 or more, the HOA can put a lien on your home.
An HOA community in California can take out a lien on a homeowner member if they have over $1,800 in fees.
In Nevada, there is a special type of lien known as a super lien. This may seem like a silly name, but there’s nothing silly about it. If the HOA votes to place a super lien on a HOA-based home in Nevada, the state will look upon the case with a higher priority and stricter eye.
A lien does not mean the homeowner has to sell their home. It means that if the homeowner wants to sell their home, they will have to pay the fines first before you can sell it.
If someone plans to dodge the HOA fees by selling their home and moving, a lien will ruin their plans.
Once there is a lien on the home, they are under legal obligation by the state to pay off the fees. If they cannot pay off the fees, they cannot sell their home.
When Do You Not Have to Pay an HOA Fine?
The owner of a home does not have to pay HOA fines if they are not part of the HOA community! That’s right, HOAs have tried to force people to pay fines for violations that they never agreed to pay. This is a fairly common tactic of unfair HOAs.
For example, you purchase a home in a neighborhood and there is no HOA at the time of purchase. Then, 8 years later, an HOA is finally established in your area. They sent you paperwork and invited you to the community, but you decided to not join.
But since your home is close to the HOA, the HOA board has the audacity to send you violations and fines for not following their rules!
Can you believe it? The nerve!
You also don’t have to pay the fine for a broken rule or violation if the rule does not have an established fine. HOA boards may not add fines to rules without fines.
If you study the rules of your HOA well, you can annoy them legally and breaking none of the HOAs rules. For ideas and inspiration, check out this article on how to annoy your HOA.
Conclusion to Not Paying HOA Fines
Not paying HOA fines is not an option. If you do not pay fines, you cannot access some amenities of the HOA, like the gym, the barbecue pit, etc. If the fines are too great, you can ask the HOA board to delay the due date so you can save the money.
But you have to fix the problems that cause the fine first. If the fines and non-payment fees accumulate past a certain point, like $1,800 or $2,000, the HOA board can put a lien on your home.