HOAs are generally strict about the collection of fees and dues. In fact, by-laws and CC&Rs
include a stipulation that clearly defines penalties and consequences for late and delinquent homeowners. In a worst-case scenario, a homeowner may be evicted for being a delinquent payer. Homeowners associations may send several reminders first and may even conduct an interview with the homeowner to find out if their financial situation has changed. Eviction is always the last course of action.
But this time around, being a delinquent payer may not be the homeowner’s fault given that the world was plunged into a financial crisis when COVID-19 caused businesses to file for bankruptcy and/or close shop for good. People lost incomes and depleted their savings, which means not only are they unable to pay bills and association dues, they are also having a difficult time providing for their families.
What are HOAs doing to help their residents in this time of global crisis? Here are a few steps they’ve taken to help ease the burden of their financially strapped residents:
1. Relief from dues for a specific period
At the height of the pandemic, a lot of homeowners associations across the country stopped collecting membership dues as their residents struggled to cope with financial losses caused by the pandemic. This meant HOAs had to dip into their emergency funds for important expenses. This also meant minimizing HOA expenses to the bare essentials only.
Some HOAs stopped collecting membership dues for three consecutive months; others longer.
2. Reduced membership dues and other fees
To help residents pay their dues and fees, some HOAs reduced these by a considerable amount. Some HOAs also scrapped other fees; keeping only membership dues until such time when economies and finances become stable again.
3. Flexible due date
Before the pandemic, HOAs were strict about due dates but they have been flexible and lenient about this since the start of the pandemic. Members are given a longer payment period for their dues. If they are still unable to make payment on the “absolute deadline,” HOAs discuss payment options with their residents to help them make payments without adding to their financial burden.
While these changes in fees and dues negatively affected the HOAs operations and emergency funds, HOAs deemed it more important to take care of their residents first because being homeowner-members themselves, they too have been impacted by the pandemic, which means they may be going through the same difficulties as their neighbors.