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Subject: Your Monthly dues..... how much do you pay??
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JohnR4
(Arizona)

Posts:29


01/20/2007 6:41 AM  
I would like to do a survey of the folks here. My question to the group is; How much are your montly dues and please provide a brief description of whare you are located and the benifits those dues provide homeowners.

I am located in Phoenix AZ. our dues are $52.50 per mo
we maintain 35 acres of common grounds with 3 pools, 3 sets of tennis cts, 2 basket ball courts, a small rec. center/office and some community activity programs.
JoyceS1
(Indiana)

Posts:140


01/20/2007 7:36 AM  
$52.50 a month is amazing. I'm curious....How many units pay that amount? Are there rentals there as well?

I'm an HOA president in Indiana. Our fee covers all exterior surfaces of 14 units, i.e. siding, roofing, gutters as well as driveways, landscaping, lawn, trees. We have a little over 3 1/2 acres to maintain. Very small.

We do not have any recreational type facilities such as swimming pools or clubhouse. Just the basic home units to maintain.

I have to warn you, you will find each and every HOA is unique depending on the services provided. Not one fee amount fits every situation. Having said that,I will share with you the amount that we pay. Our fee currently is $170 per month per unit. 76% for operating expense and the remaining 24% for reserves.

Also I want to emphasize it barely provides enough funds to perform maintenance and no funds for improvements. We are forced to go with the cheapest bids whether or not they are quality services.

I, too, am interested in seeing how many respond with their fees and what their fees cover....as well as whether they feel their fee is sufficient.
JohnR4
(Arizona)

Posts:29


01/20/2007 7:43 AM  
Our HOA consist of a primary and a sub HOA totaling 1300 member households
the primary HOA consists of the single family residences which pay the 52.50 as stated prior. they recieve the benifits of membership as described.
the sub association consists of condos. thier benifits include the roof, painting and other building maint. they pay substantially more about $100 more than the single family residences do. the 52.50 is alloted to the primary HOA the remainder is collected by and managed by the sub association
TaraR
(Arizona)

Posts:24


01/20/2007 7:52 AM  
I live in Gilbert, AZ. The community includes 74 single-family homes. We are a small community that maintains two small common areas, one community pool, surrounding common walls, we pay electricity for our streets, street sweeper and mail box lights and we have to re-do our surface streets approximately every 14 years (the community owns the streets, not the city). Our monthly dues are $44. However, with all listed, we do not have much in reserves and are restricted to projects. Hope that helps.
BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


01/20/2007 7:52 AM  
tempe arizona, $20/month. we maintain two water retention basins, and a strip of sidewalk along a main road.
JohnR4
(Arizona)

Posts:29


01/20/2007 7:56 AM  
please specify how many units and single family residence or condo
BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


01/20/2007 7:59 AM  
SFR, 40 units. don't own the streets, don't have water bills, pay electric for two street lights.
BradP
(Kansas)

Posts:2640


01/20/2007 7:59 AM  
167 single family homes, we maintain one retention pond and two entrances. $10/month
ShariJ
(Arizona)

Posts:7


01/20/2007 8:46 AM  
I live in Mesa, AZ.
We have 165 single family homes. We have a ramada area with fireplace, 3 metal picnic tables, and two water retention basins on either side of our gated, commmunity pool. We pay for the pool utilities (water, electricity, pool maintenance), electricity at the ramada and to have the grass mowed, trees trimmed and trash taken from ramada area. Our monthly dues just increased this year to $38.50. We currently have about $30,000 in reserves, but the pool needs replastering and the deck needs to be redone which will deplete our reserves which is why we went up the $3.50 from last year.

Shari
BonnieE
(Illinois)

Posts:338


01/20/2007 12:16 PM  
Hi! I am also amazed at the low (as compared to IN and IL) monthly assessments, but this is probably an apples to oranges comparison! My HOA is located in IL, ~45 miles NW of Chicago. We are comprised of 12-13 year old town home-style condominiums – 110 units in 20 buildings. I think we might have a couple of acres of property – no pool, etc. – just landscaped areas and grass. Our monthly assessment is based on unit size and ranges from $126 – 186/month. It covers: landscaping, snow removal, building exteriors (roofs, siding, trim, gutters, downspouts), driveways and visitor parking areas, entryway sidewalk, MC, insurance. For 2007, ~22% of our assessment income goes to the reserve fund – which is lower than recommended in our reserve study (recommends ~26%). Before anyone asks, 3 of our 5 BOD members voted for less spending in 2007. In the past we had been doing more regular maintenance – for the past couple of years we are just barely covering the minimum needed.

We have done some capital improvements over past 2 years: replaced driveways and visitor parking areas, restored wood decks, will be removing/replacing all caulking.

Is our assessment sufficient? I think not - I think we need to increase the assessments for: increased amount to reserve fund, landscaping replacements, mulching, roof inspection (which has been recommended for 2 years now).

Also, we are part of a larger Master HOA, which also includes single-family homes (~400 homes) and another condo group (~100 units) similar to ours. Property includes the required open space needed for managing our storm water (retention and detention ponds), 6 aerator fountains, fencing of the perimeter, entry monuments. There is a $165 annual assessment from each HO to maintain these common areas.

I would be especially interested in hearing from HOAs who are in or near larger metropolitan areas and who have a higher cost of living. Some of our BOD members are convinced that everyone else pays much less than we do!

GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5491


01/20/2007 2:38 PM  
OK Bonnie here goes 132 units in ten 12 family buildings (one is double sized) built in 1992 in the Greater Cincinnati area. We have a pool, clubhouse & exercise room and a couple of acres of common elements, two retention ponds with fountains along with parking areas and one road we share with another community. All of the units are not the same size with the smallest paying $146.42 per month and the largest paying $192.58. There are also 68 garages that the owners pay an additional $6.00 month but the owners of the garages are responsible for all garage maintenance.

The Association is responsible for insurance, roofs, siding, landscaping, snow removal and water. We just updated the reserve study last year and are fully funded and in a good position for the next 20 years (knock wood). From talks with the reserve study company there are a lot of local complexes with lower fees that are busy playing catch up. Years of low contributions to reserve funds to maintain low fees are costing them now. Ohio changed the law a couple of years ago regarding reserves in order to cut down on special assessments. Now each association must put at least 10% of their annual operating budget into reserves or the majority of the Association must vote each year to allow special assessments.

Studies show that 5 out of 4 people have problems with fractions
JulieS
(Georgia)

Posts:412


01/20/2007 4:05 PM  
North metro Atlanta: 137 homes, swim/tennis community...We pay $450/year (started at $350 in 1998). I think the more homes you have the more people to support amenities. A subdivision nearby has 650 homes, two pools, tennis court and clubhouse. They have 325 homes to support each pool. Another subdivision has 1,200 homes, two pools, clubhouse, playground, nature trails and tennis courts. Same thing, 600 homes per pool. They started with a $600 annual assessment and initiation fee but are now up to $750 for both after two years and they are not completed in build-out yet. As we all know, each neighborhood is totally different from all others and you cannot really compare.
DwightT
(Idaho)

Posts:664


01/20/2007 5:42 PM  
My HOA has 313 single-family homes in Meridian, ID. We have one small pool and two parks with playground equipment. No clubhouse or office space. Any fence between common area and homeowner property is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain, but we do have about 200' of fencing that is the responsibility of the HOA. We also have several common-area pathways through the neighborhood that we are responsible for snow removal and de-icing. Not sure of total acreage of common areas, but I would estimate it around 2-3 acres. The HOA does own and maintain the pumps for pressurized irrigation water provided to every lot in the neighborhood.

Our dues are $400/yr. We took over from the developer a little over a year ago, and we currently have a little over $50K in the reserve fund.
DanaB1
(Connecticut)

Posts:319


01/20/2007 6:11 PM  
Hey Joyce,

You seem to be president of a "Condo Association", not an "HOA" in it's truest form. Home Owners Associations are separate homes with the owners responsible for paying for siding and roofing, etc.; with the association responsible only for the costs of roads, and pools, tennis courts, club houses, etc. They vary as to items listed but you get the jist of what I'm saying.

Your costs will be much higher.

I live in CT. in a 56 unit condo assc. housed in 13 buildings. We have no amenities. Our complex is underfunded and has been for it's 22 year history. We had to have a $5,0000 special assessment in 1995 to replace roofing. It was never put on correctly anyway but we did not have the money to replace it.

Our fees are now $290 with $50 of that earmarked for the improvement project, ie siding and paving. We will be hitting owners with an assessment to fund this project with the common fee ending up at $340/unit.

We are putting more money in reserves now but by the time we finish the loan in ten years. We still won't have enough to cover the roofs we'll need.

I just got back on the board recently. They had they're heads in the sand, so far it has taken them 2 years to just get bids for the upcoming projects. Ouch.

So if any of you think that your underfunded? You probably are.

And it doesn't make much difference what anybody else pays. This is an area where purchasers get screwed, they are, many times first time buyers and they go with the price of the unit and common fee. They don't really know to look at the condition of the entire complex along with costs and reserve funds, and record of special assessments levied.

I'm done preaching, sorry. lol

Dana

DanaB1
(Connecticut)

Posts:319


01/20/2007 6:17 PM  
Joyce and Bonnie,

After rereading your posts, my only advice to the two of you is to kick up the fees. It sounds like your both running out of money quick. When you can't even maintain the place adequately you're in trouble.

Just my 2 cents.

Dana
DavidW5
(North Carolina)

Posts:565


01/20/2007 9:13 PM  
Our "55 or better" community of 650 single family homes in Virginia has a 21,000 sq. ft. clubhouse with indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center, ballroom, etc. We also have tennis courts, putting green, golf driving cage, walking trails and extensive landscaped common areas. Our current dues are $215 per month. This also covers snow removal and trash collection. The developer still subsidizes expenses until all 800 homes are occupied. We assume dues will increase once the developer is gone.

JoyceS1
(Indiana)

Posts:140


01/21/2007 5:34 AM  
DanaB1

When our community's documents were formed by the developer, the documents listed it as a condominium. However, our community does not fall under the state's definition of a "condominium" but instead is a Planned Unit Development.

An amendment to the documents occurred and the only change to the documents was the elimination of the word "condominium" to the declaration. All the other obligations of maintenance remained in the CC&Rs. We are incorporated and operate as a not-for-profit corporation.

It has been a source of confusion....most people don't understand the CC&Rs. Realtors don't seem to help matters either by explaining what persons are buying into.

As you outlined, people buying into this concept don't understand that the fees have to increase to keep pace with the cost increases. When they purchased their unit, they had the misconception that the fee being paid then would remain the same "forever."

Many elderly on fixed incomes want all the maintenance free living, but don't seem to grasp that "someone" has to pay for it......not only with the maintenance fee, but with their time and oversight by serving on the board.



DavidS3
(Maryland)

Posts:37


01/21/2007 7:34 AM  
We live in a 503 home "55 and better" community on the Maryland Eastern Shore. About 80% of the units are detached single family dwellings while the others are attached villas. The only community buildings are a clubhouse (with indoor pool, fitness center, billiards room, card room, library, crafts room and a large all-purpose room) and a small mail pavillion. However, there is extensive landscaping over a large common area, multiple entrance and interior monuments, a lake and over 20 retention ponds to be maintained. Residential services include lawn care, pruning and weed removal, gutter cleaning, snow removal and leaf removal, and account for a little over 40% of our budget. Our monthly assessment this year is $172.

Reading the responses to this questioned reinforced in my mind the futility of comparing one fee to another. Each communnity is unique and even if you could find two communities with identical amenities, infrastructure and services, their locations would very likely create a difference in costs. Another factor, for newer communities (ours is about 6 years old)is how the developer/builder chose to finance the early operations.

In our case the builder/developer team chose to keep the early assessments artificially low to better attract buyers. With less than full buildout and a low assessment the operating budget naturally ran a substantional deficit. This was financed by a no-interest operating loan from the builder to the HOA (which was builder/developer controlled at that point), that reached about $113,000 at it highest point. The builder/developer accepted unrealistic low bids for service contracts (our first lawn service went belly up in mid-summer) and budgeted about one tenth of what it would cost to maintain the level of attractiveness of the ponds that was there when we moved in.

After the first resident was elected to the five person board residents started to take control of the budget. A budget and finance committee was created and town meetings were held to explain the situation. The universal resident response was to stop sliding further into debt, find out what the true costs are and set the assessments accordingly. The builder/developer, to their credit, went along with this and over the last three years the situation has stabilized.

We started to repay the loan last year and will complete payments in mid-2008. We commissioned a replacement reserve study and budget the recommended contributions. We now have over $130,000 and will continue to update the model annually. This year's assessment was a $10 increase over last year but there was literally no objections from the residents. This is partly because this increase was exactly as predicted in the 5-year plan they received last year and partly because they recognize the need to protect a major investment.

I guess the bottom line of this message is that we no longer care what other communities are paying. We know what our costs are and how to control them and that is all that really matters.
PatrickH
(California)

Posts:204


01/21/2007 7:55 AM  
We're a 125 unit townhome community in Orange County California built 20 years ago. Probably about 25-27 buildings on a lot of land by California standards. Dues are $ 225 per month, $ 100 for Reserves, 125 for operating expenses.

Largest operating expenses are insurance, (buildings are insured for $ 24 Million replacement costs) and landscaping, we have over 300 mature trees and hundreds more smaller bushes, shrubs and trees. We also own and have to maintain the streets, sidewalks, street lights, fencing, etc.

Largest reserve deposits are for roof replacement, (we have those Mexican tile type roofs which are very expensive to replace but fortunately last about 40 years) and building painting, we do that about seven to eight years.
JoyceS1
(Indiana)

Posts:140


01/21/2007 9:07 AM  
DavidS3

I am so envious of your situation. You certainly were able to turn things around.

Getting the homeowners to recognize the situation was a major accomplishment as well.

Count me green with envy!

Joyce
DanaB1
(Connecticut)

Posts:319


01/21/2007 9:29 AM  
I'll second that Joyce.

One other thing I wanted to mention to you Joyce is, "how often do we hear of board members wanting to keep fees low or raising them minutly because of those owners on limited income?" They don't realize by doing that these "limited income people" are really screwed; when down the road they now need to come up with several thousand dollars for a "special assessment"?
BonnieE
(Illinois)

Posts:338


01/21/2007 1:46 PM  
Hi all – I found this discussion thread to be quite interesting! I wasn’t looking to compare what we pay with everyone else, but it was interesting to see the wide array of types of managed communities out there – and also found that a number of HOAs face similar issues as we face – BOD members who do not want to raise assessments for required maintenance nor maintain adequate reserve funds, HOs who are uninterested in participating, etc. DanaB1 –right on – except in our situation, some of our BOD members claim they do not want to raise the assessments not only due to those HOs who cannot afford the increase, but claim they, too, cannot afford the increase –- And, yes, we do need to raise our assessments! -- And, I also empathize with you with what you have had to go through with your BOD! I “feel” for you having had that special assessment for the roofs, and now have the high assessments. “They had they're heads in the sand” - yep – seems to describe a few (majority) of our BOD members, too! I am working on getting our inadequate Reserve Study update revised and hopefully that will be a start to getting those heads out of the sand!
BobM5
(California)

Posts:34


01/21/2007 4:59 PM  
I'm board president of a 55+ attached condo development in Cathedral City, CA (next to Palm Springs). We just raised our monthly assessment by $20 to $290 a month. This covers operating expenses for pool service, gardening service, trash service, water for all units and common areas including pool and spa, insurance, gas for clubhouse, pool and spa, electric for clubhouse, hallways, garden lighting, and lights in carports. We just finished having a new foam roof installed for $88,000 from reserves. The $20 increase is going into our reserve fund.
TomJ
(Arizona)

Posts:42


01/24/2007 6:48 PM  
JohnR4, our dues are $81 per month, just increased from $79 last year and we are one of the highest in our area.

I think we have too much landscaping and it is our biggest budget item, $53,103 per year. Of course we have to have the "weeds" called mesquite and palo verde that requires thinning annually or lose them in the monsoon winds. We just combined the tree thinning contract with the landscape contact and saved about $5K. We are on a corner so we get landscaping costs for two streets outside the development plus what is inside. One count was about 400 trees ("weeds') I think.

We are a gated community so we pay electric for street lights, maintain our private streets, have a pool and spa. The pool is heated by propane so we turn off the heaters from Dec thru Feb. We do not have recycled water for landscape so that is expensive and just got a bill of $2K for cleaning dry wells. If water much higher, it would be cheaper to put in artificial turf and save water and mowing costs.

We have spent quite a bit getting the development in better condition than the developer left it. Coded locks on the pool so we know who was in then vandalism happens, re doing landscaping to prevent damage to fences from water, and water into the propane fill station, etc.

Our reserves are a bit over $100K
TomJ
(Arizona)

Posts:42


01/24/2007 6:49 PM  
JohnR4, I am in South Chandler and our dues are $81 per month, just increased from $79 last year and we are one of the highest in our area.

I think we have too much landscaping and it is our biggest budget item, $53,103 per year. Of course we have to have the "weeds" called mesquite and palo verde that requires thinning annually or lose them in the monsoon winds. We just combined the tree thinning contract with the landscape contact and saved about $5K. We are on a corner so we get landscaping costs for two streets outside the development plus what is inside. One count was about 400 trees ("weeds') I think.

We are a gated community so we pay electric for street lights, maintain our private streets, have a pool and spa. The pool is heated by propane so we turn off the heaters from Dec thru Feb. We do not have recycled water for landscape so that is expensive and just got a bill of $2K for cleaning dry wells. If water much higher, it would be cheaper to put in artificial turf and save water and mowing costs.

We have spent quite a bit getting the development in better condition than the developer left it. Coded locks on the pool so we know who was in then vandalism happens, re doing landscaping to prevent damage to fences from water, and water into the propane fill station, etc.

Our reserves are a bit over $100K
MikeS1


Posts:0


01/25/2007 9:15 AM  
During a recent budget review, we had to raise the HOA fees significantly, since the previous board didn't raise the fees at all for several years. This increase was prompted primarily because of the Reserve Study. Properly explained in great detail, the members understood the reason for the increase and the HOA met virtually no resistance. Now during all the discussions, we polled neighboring communities about their fees. It really doesn't matter what other communities are charging. Fees will vary with services, amenities and also larger communities may have lower fees, since there are certain fixed expenses that every HOA must incur regardless of whether there are 50 homes or 500 homes. It comparing apples and oranges. Just do what's right for your community and I wouldn't try to make the comparisons. Good luck.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


01/25/2007 9:31 AM  
Posted By MikeS1 on 01/25/2007 9:15 AM
It really doesn't matter what other communities are charging. Fees will vary with services, amenities and also larger communities may have lower fees, since there are certain fixed expenses that every HOA must incur regardless of whether there are 50 homes or 500 homes. It comparing apples and oranges.

Amen Mike. To try to compare is rediculus. Two associations within a mile of my home had quarterly assessments of $40 and $396 - apples and oranges

JoyceS1
(Indiana)

Posts:140


01/25/2007 11:08 AM  
I've been preaching the applies to oranges comparison to homeowners in my community for the past four years.

However, since this thread was started, I found it fascinating nonetheless to learn about other communities' operations, locations and amenities.

JoyceS1

JanM
(Texas)

Posts:142


01/25/2007 5:32 PM  
A little off the subject, but I received a statement from my HOA saying that they are giving us a "military adjustment" meaning that while my husband is deployed, we don't have to pay any dues during the duration of his tour. I thought this was really awesome and a pleasant surprise. Are there any other HOA's doing the same?
MikeS1


Posts:0


01/25/2007 6:12 PM  
We would hope that HOA's used a little common sense when it comes to this issue (yes, it's a little off the subject); but there really doesn't seem to be very precedents on the web with the exception of the June 2004 case in Tampa. I'm sure that you can find this Tampa case on the web and I'm sure that an attorney could shed light on this. The 2004 Tampa case is a heart warming story involving a 42-year-old Riverview man who almost lost his home because he forgot to pay his $200 annual homeowner association fee while deployed in Georgia for the Air Force Reserve. In June, the HOA filed a lien against the reservist's home and the association leaders were considering foreclosure. After it hit the papers, the offers started rolling in. The next thing you know, a pro bono attorney is dropping off a check for 1,148.50 to the association attorney courtesy of a local Tampa Consultant/Contractor. Nice work, Tampa!
RandalR
(Tennessee)

Posts:98


01/25/2007 6:55 PM  
We're in Farragut, TN (Knoxville), a voluntary HOA, and our annual dues used to be $130/yr and an additional $300 for use of the rec area (pool, tennis courts, & volleyball). We just raise our dues to $215/yr and included the rec area. It's a very unrealistic amount as I'm projecting a $28,000 deficit in this first year alone! Our association dues are still very low compared to newer subdivisions around us, even those without a pool.
BradP
(Kansas)

Posts:2640


01/26/2007 6:16 AM  
Randal:

Did your board actually approve a budget with that big of a deficit? Or were there projections a little more on the rosy side?
RandalR
(Tennessee)

Posts:98


01/26/2007 9:26 PM  
Brian,

We have 263 households in our voluntary association. The "balanced budget" was based on 250 households paying the new rate of $215. In reality we've never been able to achieve more than ~220 memberships in any given year even before we raised the dues and threw the pool into the mix. So there's $6450 that we won't be collecting from the 30 households that have never joined, and probably never will, regardless of what kind of deal is offered. (That also doesn't include the remaining 13 households they didn't budget for.)

For the 70 households that have been recreation members, we've just lost $15,050 of their revenue because they just received a price cut of $215 on each of their memberships. Normally they paid $130 for Association and an additional $300 for Recreation.

So now we're down over $21,500 and that doesn't include the money we're going to lose from the Association SHA members that will drop out completely because they don't want any of their money going to fund "that pool down there"! From my estimates that will be another 30 or so which takes our deficit up to the $28K.

And just to help us recoup that lost revenue we're probably going to continue to let the swim team close our pool during the evenings. That should help us in attracting outside memberships.

Estimates were quite rosy I'd say!

RandalR
(Tennessee)

Posts:98


01/26/2007 9:30 PM  
Apologies for calling you by the wrong name Brad.
BobM5
(California)

Posts:34


01/27/2007 6:35 AM  
The "military adjustment" is wonderful, but I question it's legality. If approved by a majority of homeowners that also agreed to increase their monthly assessments to compensate for the loss of funds to the association, I see no problem. However, if the decision was made by the board alone, it could lead to challanges.
WilliamT
(Arizona)

Posts:489


01/27/2007 7:19 AM  
Posted By BobM5 on 01/27/2007 6:35 AM

The "military adjustment" is wonderful, but I question it's legality. If approved by a majority of homeowners that also agreed to increase their monthly assessments to compensate for the loss of funds to the association, I see no problem. However, if the decision was made by the board alone, it could lead to challanges.


Most reservists and many new enlistees who go to Iraq face a financial hardship, in addition to the other problems they are up against.

I think it is wonderful that a Board has the heart to reach out to help these people.

I don't believe it is illegal, as you'll see later, and I know it is morally right.

We don't have any homeowners in the military in this community. But if we did, I would ask the rest of the board to form a committee to talk to the military families to determine if they were doing ok financially, or if they could use some temporary relief from the dues, and to begin to build a support system for them.

If they need financial assistance, then the committee would determine a total amount needed in dues releif to spread among the military families in the community.

Next I would send a notice to the community explaining in detail the boards' plans to help, and notifying them that the motion will be made at the next regular board meeting. Anyone wishing to make comment on this motion is requested to attend the meeting so they can offer their input and ask questions. They would be asked to bring in other suggestions as to how the community could build a suport system for these families.

We would also ask people to individually provide whatever support they can to their military family neighbor.

The board would rely on the section in the CC&R's that say the dues assesment funds are to be used for the maintenance, "safety and welfare" of the community.

I believe that "welfare" of the community can be loosely interpreted as being able to help a community member in need. Certainly every board uses it to mean they can spend money for community social events. Those social events are held to help bring people together in the community to build a better community spirit.

So why can't it also be used to help bring the community together to help a couple of their community members who are sacrificing their financial situation and risking their lives to help make their country, which includes their neighbors in the community, a lot safer?

A social event could be held to honor the loved one(s) of the family(s)who are serving, and people could be asked to bring certain items the family may need, and or cash donations to help. This support system would go a long way toward bringing that community together, and would provide much needed support for the family if the loved one were killed or paralyzed in the war.

Just think of how proud this young soldier in Iraq would feel, to hear about and see photos of his family being supported by his or her neighbors, and showing their support for the dangerous job the soldier is doing.

And think about how proud the community would be in what they are doing to help.

GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5491


01/28/2007 4:15 AM  
William most of the time your advice is right on but you're way off on this one. While I applaud and pray for the brave men and women deployed overseas and recognize the hardship this creates on their families; this is an improper use of the HOA's funds and in my opinion a breach of the BOD's fiduciary responsibility. The HOA is a business first and foremost and as such its primary responsibility is to all the stockholders (members), it is not a charity.

I have no problem if someone approaches the BOD and explains that they have a problem and asks for a payment plan and the BOD reaches an agreement with them. But the BOD can't arbitrarily decide that these folks deserve a break and everyone else must cover for them. Not only has the BOD decided that they get a break, they also decided that everyone else in the community must pay for their largess. In another thread some HOA let the assessments for the family's of someone who died which I believe is also improper.

If you want to subsidize these families by taking up a collection and paying their dues for them then God Bless; that way the people who want to contribute can. Where do you draw the line? Is it ok to use Association funds to donate to charity? If so who decides the charity? If a young couple or old for that matter buys into the HOA and they then have a child who has a serious birth defect. They are now in a hardship situation, is it ok for the BOD to tell them they don't have to pay their dues?

Studies show that 5 out of 4 people have problems with fractions
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


01/28/2007 7:07 AM  
Posted By JanM on 01/25/2007 5:32 PM

A little off the subject, but I received a statement from my HOA saying that they are giving us a "military adjustment" meaning that while my husband is deployed, we don't have to pay any dues during the duration of his tour. I thought this was really awesome and a pleasant surprise. Are there any other HOA's doing the same?


JohnR4,

I’m not providing you the information you are seeking, although you have received some very good posts and suggestions I personally thank you for posting the topic. It seems to have been steered toward, should the board or shouldn’t the board?

I, like previously posted, think it would be extremely generous
to take up a collect. I feel this would be best, before discounting the assessment. Now that I’m a board member, I have much better understanding and a tremendous amount of compassion for anyone who is faced with any sort of financial hardship.

I completely agree that an HOA is a business and should be run as such, but being a board member myself (which most of the replies
you have received so far are as well) There comes a time where being known as a loving, caring, and compassionate human goes much farther than, the aspect of “running a business” Come on! That has to the one of the most disturbing posts I have read (in a couple of years)

I now know that I would feel much much better about accepting money from my neighbors appose to the BOD just reducing the annual assessment. I don’t feel it would be fair to those who are experiencing something in a much lesser scale, to you and me, but to them it’s pretty dramatic. Who are you to make that decision? Not you literally,
As posted earlier, where do you draw the line? HMMMM

A board member is to make decisions for what is best for the entire community, not just one family. The money you would be discounting is also the money of the community. I feel it should be the decision of the entire community, not at the soul discretion of the board (in this particular case)

I also as previously mentioned, encourage any member(s) confronted with any financial hardships, to contact the BOD or MC for help with their particular situation. They (the board, community your neighbors) may not be aware of what the situation is about nor should that person feel obligated to share their financial troubles with the neighborhood at such a difficult time. It’s embarrassing to say the least! But if could be worst.

I would suggest taking up a fund within the community and presenting that if anything at all. But I do agree with the majority of the responses you have received that the board needs to do what is in the best interest of the community, morally as well as ethically!

I hope all reading this post will question their decision, about whether to or not too give some sort of financial relief to those who need it the most.

God Bless,
Chuck W.



Charles E. Wafer Jr.
JanM
(Texas)

Posts:142


01/28/2007 7:49 AM  
Just to clarify a few things... Our dues are only $240 per year and I have no problem paying them. I live and budget within our means. I just got a phone call from the office out of the blue and I had no knowledge of it. I had actually already paid in advance! I live in a very conservative town where folks support our military and war efforts. If there was a military family who had problems paying their dues while deployed, all they would have to do is contact the JAG office and have them intervene. All they need is a copy of their orders. All other companies have to comply such as cell phone companies, utilities, and rental properties if someone is suddenly deployed. There was another post either here or on ahrc where a guy was getting fined for leaving his car parked at his home while deployed which is wrong, wrong, wrong. I haven't heard any end results but I also directed him to the JAG.
I thought it was a nice gesture by my HOA and wanted to share.
WilliamT
(Arizona)

Posts:489


01/28/2007 8:24 AM  
Posted By GlenL on 01/28/2007 4:15 AM

William most of the time your advice is right on but you're way off on this one. While I applaud and pray for the brave men and women deployed overseas and recognize the hardship this creates on their families; this is an improper use of the HOA's funds and in my opinion a breach of the BOD's fiduciary responsibility. The HOA is a business first and foremost and as such its primary responsibility is to all the stockholders (members), it is not a charity.


Glen, what I've offered regarding the Iraq soldiers is only my opinion, and an example of how I would proceed with our board and community. I hope it's not construed that I'm advising others to do the same. Each board and board member must make their own decisions in these cases, whether it is for a community member who has a spouse soldier in Iraq, or a widow who is having a difficult time financially.

You mentioned charity, and I'm a believer in suporting charities, and I'm also a believer in helping those who are closest to us who are in need.

Businesses do support charities, and some businesses do help their employees financially, (above and beyond their normal paychecks) when they are in need.

Our HOA Bylaws do not permit charitable contributions, but, helping out community members in need doesn't fall into that charity category.

Our CC&R's have this statement:

"...The assessments levied by the Association shall be used exclusively for the upkeep, maintenance and improvements of the Common Area..." "...and for promoting the recreation, health, safety and welfare of the Owners and residents of Lots within the Property..."

"Welfare" is not defined in our documents, so I look to the dictionary. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary it is defined as:


2 a : aid in the form of money or necessities for those in need


Definition 2a, is a definition that I feel can be legally applied to the covenant statement. However, it is limited to the Owners and residents of the community lots.

Now if the CC&R's provide that the assessment funds may be used for the "welfare" of the Owners and residents of Lots within the community, then I interpret that as the Board being able to grant some type of relief to the Iraqi soldier family who may be in need, and to a widow who may need some assistance to keep from losing her home.

In my post I didn't say that the Board would arbitrarily determine to help a family. I said that I would move to appoint a committee to determine their needs, and recommend what could be done for them. Then I would send a letter of notice to the community stating the recommendation, and that this matter would be coming up to a vote, and request their attendance and input.

At the meeting the community would have their input and the board would vote on the issue. The result would be a decision that is made (whatever that decision turns out to be) by an informed Board after input from the Community.

The letter would have also asked the community to see what they could do for the family(s).

The end result could be that the community would want to take on the project of offering moral, physical, and/or financial support on their own, and request the Board to not use the assessments, and the Board may vote that way.

No matter how that or other similar issues may turn out, I see it as a legal option in our CC&R's, and an excellent way to bring a community together for the good cause of helping a community member in need.

The thought of foreclosing on a good community members home because they are currently having financial problems just does not set right with me.

And while the Board has the duty to collect assessments, it also has the duty to use the assessment funds in all of the ways described in the covenant such as the one in our documents.
BradP
(Kansas)

Posts:2640


01/28/2007 9:23 AM  
William:

I got beat up early for saying essentially what you are saying. I agree with you. I would not be able to live with myself if we coldheartedly foreclosed on a home of a member who ran into financially difficulty because of situations beyond their control. I am not talking about someone who bit off more than they can chew and is now facing hardship, I am talking about those few situations in life that is beyond control, death, serious illness or accident, military duty.

People on here have compared HOA's to businesses and that we need to run a business here. I have seen it in many places where businesses are very charitable, in fact often when an employee is struck with hardship you will often see a business stick out a helping hand.

I never said before that I would become dictator in my HOA and do this for anyone, but I feel if your association and it members agree on it then there is nothing wrong with it. I would be a strong proponate of helping out in the most extreme of cases if that is what our membership wanted.

William, I do like your idea of a fundraising social. IF it is ok to use funds for social activites why can't you do that but add a donation part to it. People don't have to donate, they can simply enjoy the company and food.

I hear the term "fidicuary duty" thrown around a lot on here. To me fidicuary duty means you need to do what is in the best interest of your association. That may mean different things for everyone on here. I know Glen has been a strong opponent to doing anything like this, and it may not be in the best interest of his association. Nor am I saying that anyone else should do it. However, no one knows the landscape of my association better than me, both from a personal and financial standpoint. I may be wrong, but I would bet money that if we had a need to help someone out our people would step up and do that.

I by no means am degrading anyone's opinions, we all have them, that is what makes this country good. I am simply stating mine for better or worse, I understand there will be people who disagree and that is ok, I appreciate all comments.
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


01/29/2007 9:31 AM  
Posted By JanM on 01/28/2007 7:49 AM

Just to clarify a few things... Our dues are only $240 per year and I have no problem paying them. I live and budget within our means. I just got a phone call from the office out of the blue and I had no knowledge of it. I had actually already paid in advance! I live in a very conservative town where folks support our military and war efforts. If there was a military family who had problems paying their dues while deployed, all they would have to do is contact the JAG office and have them intervene. All they need is a copy of their orders. All other companies have to comply such as cell phone companies, utilities, and rental properties if someone is suddenly deployed. There was another post either here or on ahrc where a guy was getting fined for leaving his car parked at his home while deployed which is wrong, wrong, wrong. I haven't heard any end results but I also directed him to the JAG.
I thought it was a nice gesture by my HOA and wanted to share.



JanM,

I apologize to you and anyone else I may have offended. I wasn’t saying you should or shouldn’t be grateful for what your HOA has done for you or anyone else in your community.

I think that is the way HOA should be but it is difficult for the board to know of these situations to become proactive about them, unless the HO should happen to mention their financial hardship to the board. This doesn’t happen all too often. I would like to convey this type of gesture myself to deployed residents in my community. It’s obvious you didn’t need the help considering you paid in advance. How did they know? Was that information provided to the board or did they just hear from you or neighbors within the community, that your husband was being deployed?


Do you have any idea of how I could find out if they are deployed or not?

I’m have made this suggestion to my HOA board and I’m hoping we can get something together as well.

The JAG program you mentioned is that a program to help with financial hardships. I would like to print this in our newsletter for the month of March. That way if they were in need of some help they would have somewhere to turn.

Thank you for the idea. I appreciate it very much.
It is a nice gesture by your HOA as well as anyone else’s.

Chuck W.




Charles E. Wafer Jr.
SidneyP
(Florida)

Posts:302


01/29/2007 4:51 PM  
These are very good gustures but suppose you live in a large Military town. You could end up with 5/10 or more family members being deployed from one neighbor. How could the association handle losing all those assessment fees. I know my community couldn't survive w/o this money....If a community wants to look out for the "welfare" of those HO's in need than they should take up money to pay their association fees not forgive them. I was a military family, we had six (6) children and we had many hard times in your early years but I never wanted my neighbors to know we were having financial trouble. This is personal and how would you know these people needed/wanted help. I can only state how I would feel and I wouldn't want my neighbors talking about me and the problems they may think I have.
JanM
(Texas)

Posts:142


01/29/2007 5:23 PM  
I wasn't offended Chuck, like I said, I just wanted to share. My husband is well known in our community for both good and not so good, shall we say, way of thinking?? Some people like him, some hate him, sometimes both at the same time. Thats beside the point. Your office may know who is serving and you could contact that family yourself I suppose. But like the lady said, they may not want anyone knowing of their situation if they are in need. The military has financial services for those needing help paying bills and most military families help each other out. Your local newspaper may also have a list of names of families or soldiers to "adopt" while they are deployed and you could compare names to your member list. The JAG office is the legal dept.
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


01/30/2007 12:27 PM  
Posted By JanM on 01/29/2007 5:23 PM

I wasn't offended Chuck, like I said, I just wanted to share. My husband is well known in our community for both good and not so good, shall we say, way of thinking?? Some people like him, some hate him, sometimes both at the same time. Thats beside the point. Your office may know who is serving and you could contact that family yourself I suppose. But like the lady said, they may not want anyone knowing of their situation if they are in need. The military has financial services for those needing help paying bills and most military families help each other out. Your local newspaper may also have a list of names of families or soldiers to "adopt" while they are deployed and you could compare names to your member list. The JAG office is the legal dept.


JanM,

I would assume a HO in any sort of financial bind would ask for assistant, but that’s just my thought process, not saying its right, but……It only makes sense. “IF” you need help you ask for it!

Thanks for the idea, I appreciate it
Chuck W.

Charles E. Wafer Jr.
RobinS1
(Louisiana)

Posts:10


02/12/2007 8:57 PM  
Goodness, you guys quite talking about dues.......
So...I am starting an association Thursday. I am wondering how much to charge, to vote on I mean, and our neighborhood guidelines in place from teh developer says that you will pay $5 a month.....can we have this changed? $5 A MONTH WONT PAY FOR JACK. There is 200 occupied lots with 25% of our neighborhood RENTERS. What do you suggest? Can we go up from the restrictions we all signed when we got the homes, and if so what should we charge? We have three detention ponds...a huge section of power lines that has to be mowed, several street (about 5) with ditches that need to be mowed, front that needs to be mowed, landscaping that needs to go up, we need lawyers, insurance, and I think we will not get a management firm, and we want common areas and at least one park, maybe a basketball/volleyball court. What do you suggest?
JohnN3
(North Carolina)

Posts:6


02/13/2007 6:11 AM  
We pay $400 a year in our 1500 single family unit POA. We have a clubhouse, office, several lakes, beach, marina, pool, tennis, basketball. We have on the ballot this year a proposed increase of $100 per year for the next 3 years. We are running into the same issue with our assesments being so low. We have to maintain almost 30 miles of blacktop, and our road fund will dry up in a few years so we are asking for the increase. Coupled with our (20+ yr old) infrastructure (buildings, boardwalks) has also been neglected and require replacement for the most part. The BOD in the past has been very frugal in spending money to maintain our community (bubble gum and duct tape).Its tough getting increased assesments, even when you justify and provide the community the data to support it. I have a feeling we'll have to go back to the drawing board if it fails next month.

We are near Ft Bragg, NC and have a large Military population, many on the BOD are retired military or active duty. We do not provide any discounts to military. We did however fund a Veterans Memorial (flagpole & memorioum stone) at our Marina. Also we are trying to get some veterans to start a grass roots club to help active duty dependants when spouses deploy.
MikeS1


Posts:0


02/13/2007 6:19 AM  
Robins1 - It sounds like you need to establish a budget and Reserve Study first. You can't make comparisions between disimilar communities.
RobinS1
(Louisiana)

Posts:10


02/13/2007 6:25 AM  
Im not making comparisons, I am asking for help. We dont know how to do a budget or anything else, just looking for a figure to start at.

Mainly wondering if we have to stay with 5 if the origninal paperwork says that, can I have that changed when we meet with director thursday to more money?
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


02/13/2007 7:08 AM  
Posted By RobinS1 on 02/13/2007 6:25 AM
Im not making comparisons, I am asking for help. We dont know how to do a budget or anything else, just looking for a figure to start at.

Mainly wondering if we have to stay with 5 if the origninal paperwork says that, can I have that changed when we meet with director thursday to more money?

No you do not have to stay with $5/month. It is probably that the amount can be changed and if a small amount it could be paid yearly, quarterly, etc. to reduce bookkeeping. Read your By-laws and Declaration to determine what is allowed. If a controlling document restricts you, then that document can be amended.

If no one on the Board knows how to create a budget you need outside help. And I wonder how each of you manage your own personal budget

BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


02/13/2007 7:35 AM  
Robins1: Of course, your prices may vary based on where your HOA is at, but here's what we pay, roughly. We have retention basins and an area that needs landscaping, so that may be similar.

$1600 year for liability insurance, directors E&O insurance, etc.. You will pay more if you have a volleyball court, basketball, etc.. I would plan for $2000, and start checking around.

$500/month for landscaping.

$250/year for property taxes on your land (probably very high estimate, but i have no idea what land is worth there).

$100/month for utilities, if you have water or power to your sprinklers, lighted courts, etc.

$40/month for postage, printing, receipt books, office supplies, incidentals. Don't forget po box rental, probably $40/year?


$?/month for paying accountant, etc.



DouglasD
(Texas)

Posts:8


02/14/2007 4:40 PM  
We have 214 condos, two out door swimming pools and one indoor, marina, lake front, two tennis courts, 5 elevators, restaurant, bar, heath club, three hot tubs security gates, 5 fountains, 5 boilers, four pumps for pulling water out of the lake for heating and cooling and the list goes on. The average COA fee’s are any where from 200.00 to 650.00. This is all based on square footage of the condo.
We just rasied the fee's by 10% so we can make sure we keep enough in our reserves...yes it was pain full.
ChrisB3
(West Virginia)

Posts:7


02/14/2007 7:23 PM  
368 households
2 retention ponds with fountains and pumphouse
5 acres of common area on a hillside
2.5 miles of road
.5 miles of underground drainage and drainage ditches

West Virgina

$10.50 (about $20 a month too low)
TravisJ
(Utah)

Posts:6


02/16/2007 4:15 PM  
I'm the HOA President of a small 112 single family home developement in South Jordan, UT. Our monthly assessment is $110.00. This includes maintenance of our common area (approx. 5 acre park), streets (snow removal, street lights, sweeping, resurfacing, etc.), yard maintenance of all homeowners (front and rear yard care along with flower bed/shrub/tree maintenance, and sprinkling systems), and all entrance gates (private gated community). Upon taking over from developer approx. 1 year ago, who left us with a negitive bal., we have since been able to set up a liquid reserve of $17,000.00 and currently have an operating acct. of appro. $15,000.00.
LisaD1
(Arizona)

Posts:1


02/17/2007 7:37 AM  
We have 67 units in our complex. At the end of 2006, we were withholding payment from vendors because there was NOTHING in the operating or reserve accounts. Our dues were $120/month which did not meet monthly operating expenses and past board members didn't feel the fees needed to be increased. The current board was able get the community to vote for an increase to $145/month, although it was like pulling teeth. It barely meets operating costs,however, there is nothing left to set aside for reserve.
The current board also got a $1500 assessment passed by the community, after a walk-through of the property, in order to fix maintenance issues that have been left neglected for years. In other words, the current board is the "bad guys" trying to clean up everything that the past boards have deemed inconsequential. Bad guys in the sense that we keep asking for money.
The board would like to increase the dues again to $186/month, which really is where it should be in order to have reserve monies. My question to all of you is this: Is $186/month too much?

The dues are used to pay for the following:

1300/month insurance
water/sewer
trash pickup
landscaping/cleaning of parking areas
pool care (cleaning/maint/supplies)
800/month prop mgt fees
50/month attorney fees

PS- I'm really glad I found this website. It's been very informative!

Thanks

Lisa
JoyceS1
(Indiana)

Posts:140


02/17/2007 8:26 AM  
Lisa

Whatever it takes to cover the costs of maintenance plus setting aside reserves based on a reserve study performed is not too much! The trick is, how to get your average homeowner to understand that?

I feel for you. We had to up our contributions to Reserves by $25 per person per month because for 15 years we barely were funding it.

Then, our board did something totally idiotic.....after raising the fee $25......they promised not to raise the fee the following year....no matter what. Never mind that our operating costs were falling farther and farther behind. Basically, our operating costs have gone underfunded for three years in a row, which means now we are taking money out of reserves to pay for the shortfall which totally defeats the purpose of attempting to boost our reserves.

The fact that you had a special assessment should pound home the need for adequate funding......however, having similar experience with homeowners as yours....people want everything taken care of, but don't seem to grasp where the money comes from.....

This site is a blessing, isn't it. We can all understand one another's frustrations, and even acquire some good knowledge through the experience of others to boot.

Good Luck, Lisa.

Joyce
TomH2
(California)

Posts:2


02/17/2007 9:25 PM  
We have 84 detached Townhomes in our community which was built in 1976 and our dues are $190.00 month and will go up $20.00 month next year. That includes Landscaping in "Common Areas" , pool, street paving throughout complex,watering in common areas, and outside painting (every 7 years). We have a Management Company that oversees the Complex and each owner has to maintain fences, outside maintance on homes--dry rought, termite etc, plus pay own water and PGE. We changed management companies 3 years ago but unfortunately the one we changed to (Associates Communication) have fallen short of expectations. In Fact, they are starting to suck big time. They won our business by stating they were a botique Management Company and only wanted to Manage a few properties. Well they are now up to 30 properties and pissing everyone off. We are going to attempt to get out of contract in next 60 days.
YolandaW1
(Georgia)

Posts:6


02/18/2007 8:24 AM  
I am the VP of the association in Georgia and we are going over our previous budget and we do not have enough we are at 150 and it looks like we are going to have to raise it probably to 300.00 to be able to maintain. the previouse board did not take into considerations all the leagal etc we are 87 homes. Interesting
PaulM
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:1347


02/18/2007 9:49 AM  
RandalR:
It's very difficult to understand the particulars of how your HOA is run, based on your post.
Do you have an HOA manager to assist with the HOA management?
How old is your HOA?
Do you have a reserve fund established?
What do you mean by a 'voluntary HOA'?

Why would you create an unrealistic fee of $215 which you have admitted will not cover your expenses? And if you have already created a deficit with the fee too low, how does your association propose to make up the shortfall? I don't want to sound harsh, but these are valid questions for you to answer when creating an annual budget and in setting the monthly dues to fund it.

It almost sounds like you picked a figure and raised the dues to $215 but with no use of formula or justification of total expenses needed.

You have not mentioned your HOA having an Executive Board or a Community Manager from a reputable management company to assist you in establishing an annual budget of accurate operating expenses (including the pool, tennis courts & volleyball) as well as the reserve fund for repair of capital improvements.

There is no realistic way for you to decide on a fee without knowing the line items that go into your HOA's operating expenses.

This is an interesting thread and one I have enjoyed following.
PaulM
RobinS1
(Louisiana)

Posts:10


02/18/2007 11:37 AM  
I can understand not having a management firm, how can you unless you have an uperclass subdivision. I mean face it, my neighborhood is middle class, dues are $20 a month, this is starting in April (brand new association for a brand new neighborhood. It took everything I had to convince some of these people to pay $20. I got a quote on a managment firm of about $20 per house for the fees. That is ridiculous. I would rather make accounting errors then give them all of our money. We have 214 lots, only about 190 homes, so I plan on getting 40,000 per year. Insurance is $3,000 a year and lawyer is 2,500 retainer. The rest of the money will be spend on pumps for the ponds, landscaping, etc... I want to use all the money to make the neighborhood better, not pay someone to keep up with money.
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