Living in an HOA really is a community effort. Bulk expenses, such as keeping the common areas looking great come out of the dues paid by the residents, making it everyone’s responsibility. However, in many cases, different residents pay different amounts. Can these expenses be divided equally amongst homeowners?
The Common Allocation Method?
In most HOA’s the size of the home affects the fees and dues required by that homeowner. First, the board estimates how much they need for maintaining the building, caring for the common areas, paying for services, etc. This amount is then divided by the number of units in the community association. However, it is then adjusted based on the size of each unit. As a result, homes with larger square footage pay higher dues.
The Problem with This Method
While many expenses do increase depending on the size of your home, other’s do not. This is especially the case when it comes to maintaining the common areas. Whether a resident has a huge home or a small home has nothing to do with the landscaping of a common area or the clubhouse maintenance, so why should one resident pay more than another for those costs.
The State Laws
In some cases, there is nothing the HOA can do. The state sets forth laws, and the HOA must follow. For example, in Florida, the state determines the rules for allocating costs for a condo, which greatly limits what the HOA board can do. However, Florida state laws do not govern these expenses for homes within an HOA, so in these instances, the board has more control over the allocation.
Most states follow Florida, in that the state governs condo allocation but not homes. State laws generally allow for equal allocation or pro rating, but the policy has to be uniform. The condo cannot equally allocate some costs and pro rate others.
For homes, since most states have no guidelines, it is up to the board to determine how the bulk costs are divided amongst homeowners. Most HOAs choose to follow condo strategies and allocate equally or pro rate.
So yes, in most cases, bulk HOA expenses can be allocated equally. Most states allow it, but it is up to the HOA to ultimately decide. If the HOA does not allocate equally, a vote is probably needed to make changes.
Many residents feel that equal allocation is fairer, especially when it comes to paying for common areas. Most states allow this equal allocation, but it is ultimately up to the board to determine how fees are determined
To learn how AssociationVoice can help with communication with your residents and share which expenses are allocated equally amongst the residents, click here.