What Are HOA Assessments? Do They Differ From HOA Dues And Fees?


Anyone who lives or is associated with an HOA is aware of the monthly fees and dues. However, there is another payment collected from the homeowners, and that is called HOA assessments. One may ask why they have to pay these assessments when they are already paying the dues. While some residents understand the purpose of assessments, most do not. 

It is important to educate homeowners and board members about assessments to provide a level of trust that their hard-earned money is not falling into the wrong hands. If your board is struggling with assessment planning, you can take professional help from Scottsdale HOA management companies

What are HOA assessments?

HOA assessments are a one-time payment collected from homeowners to cover unexpected costs. For example, suppose a tornado strikes the area and destroys the street lights, ruins the lawns and roofs, etc. The association’s first move of defense should be using insurance. If they do not have enough insurance coverage or reserve funds, they will most likely turn to the homeowners for a special assessment. 

One may ask why they have to pay extra charges when they are already paying monthly dues for unexpected costs. The HOA board prepares a budget every year and decides how much fees to collect from homeowners. When the board fails to create an accurate budget, it results in a shortage of funds during emergencies. Then the board conducts a vote and decides whether to collect a special assessment fee. 

Difference between HOA assessments and regular dues

Most homeowners and even some board members use the two terms, assessment and dues, interchangeably, but they are actually quite different in reality. HOA dues refer to the monthly payments to the association for covering the day-to-day operations of the community. This includes painting the fences, replacing pool tiles, buying new gym equipment, and other maintenance purposes. 

The monthly dues are only used for maintaining the community, while on the other hand, the assessments are collected for sudden damages. The amount to be collected as dues every month is decided at the starting of the year. However, the special assessments are only calculated when the situation arises. In many cases, no sudden cost may even arrive all year round. 

Can a homeowner refuse to pay a special assessment?

No. It is illegal for homeowners to deny paying special assessments. When people buy a house in an HOA, they sign a contract that contains the terms and conditions of the HOA, including the collection of special assessments. Once they become a member, they are obligated to pay these costs. Failing to do so may result in legal problems. 

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