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Tips on How to Get Out of Paying HOA Dues on a Property

A man calculates how much he must pay on HOA fees.

If you live in a Wisconsin condominium or a townhouse, you’re likely facing HOA dues from an HOA board every month. Yet, some Wisconsin neighborhoods with single-family homes also have HOA rules and HOA fees. Usually, these are monthly dues covering services like landscaping and upkeep of tennis courts, a swimming pool, and other essential projects.

Do you believe your homeowners’ association is not doing nearly enough for the community, or can you not handle the rising homeowners association dues? Then, you may need to learn how to get out of paying HOA dues.

To avoid an HOA foreclosure in Wisconsin, you will need to negotiate and find ways to lower these fees. Below, we will provide several tips to help you avoid paying HOA dues. Keep reading to find out more!

What Are HOA Dues?

HOA fees are taken from residents every month or every quarter. The timing depends on the condominium or residence you live in. The fees are used to manage the common areas by a homeowners association. It maintains the property and the surrounding real estate. 

If you purchase an HOA due-paying property during the home buying process, you become one of the HOA members who pay dues regularly. The HOA management group uses the HOA budget to enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood, maintain the landscaping, and more. 

These fees are only some of the costs of your home. You will also need to cover mortgage payments, property taxes, and property insurance fees. You’ll also need to follow community rules according to the HOA.

Did you inherit a home from a relative recently? Are you wondering what can go wrong when you inherit a house? If you inherit a home with HOA dues, you may find yourself managing these fees. 

How Do HOA Dues Work?

The board members of a homeowners association enforce the community rules in an HOA community and conduct special assessments to determine what projects are necessary. Sometimes, HOA fees cover roof repairs, snow plowing, and upkeep of the clubhouse.

Generally, the HOA is run by a board in which other residents elected by property owners handle much of the work. The homeowners association decides on the HOA fee amount and payment plan, which residents pay monthly or quarterly. The fee is common in condominiums.

HOA fees tend to cover numerous services, such as:

  • Snow removal
  • Trash removal
  • Swimming pool maintenance
  • Electricity and other utilities for common areas
  • Gate security guard
  • Pest control
  • Grounds maintenance and landscaping

HOA dues may also cover enforcement of HOA rules. The fees also cover general repair and keeping the common areas visually attractive, which should improve the property values in your neighborhood.

You can find exactly what the HOA dues are, what type of services they cover, and other HOA rules in the bylaws and governing documents you receive after buying your property. 

If you don’t pay your HOA dues, you will face the consequences. If you are late on your dues, you will get a notice from the HOA, and you’ll likely have to pay late fees as well. If you continue to miss paying your dues, the HOA will send a notice outlining the legal consequences.

A few possibilities include the HOA restricting your access to common areas like a gym or pool, sending your unpaid bills to a collection agency, and getting liens put on your property. A lien is essentially a hold put on the deed to your property that would prohibit you from selling the place. 

You’ll need to resolve the lien if you ever want to sell your property. Further, your HOA can file a lawsuit for any unpaid dues, interest, and fines. If the HOA succeeds in its lawsuit, the board can take all fees directly from your bank accounts.  

Furthermore, in certain states, an HOA can foreclose on a house if there are significant unpaid bills. Some states have restrictions on how and when they can begin foreclosing on a property, while other states don’t have any limitations. In those cases, your HOA may foreclose on your home for as little as a couple of hundred dollars of unpaid dues.

Yet, there are a few ways you can get out of paying HOA dues that we cover below.

A homeowner calculates how much he must pay on HOA fees.

How Can You Get Out of Paying HOA Dues?

Do you have any unpaid dues and want to avoid legal action taken by the HOA? In that case, you may need to contact a law firm for legal advice. If you haven’t missed any payments yet, there are also ways you can avoid paying HOA fees in the future.

Ready to find out how to get out of paying HOA dues? First, you can consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you avoid having to pay HOA fees that are past due. However, it is only possible if you no longer want to retain ownership of the property. Any dues that you accrued before filing for bankruptcy will get removed, but you will still have to cover any HOA fees that took place after the filing.

Sometimes, you can discharge past HOA dues while holding onto your property after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, that can only happen if no HOA liens were placed on the property. 

You can also try filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When you do so, the type of bankruptcy will handle your secured debts. Essentially, Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves working with a debtor who organizes your secured debts into a payment plan. The payment plan lasts anywhere from three to five years. 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is generally the best solution if you want to hold onto your property, including houses and vehicles. Has the HOA put a lien on your property due to unpaid dues? If so, you can potentially remove the lien if the outstanding balance on the mortgage is bigger than the home’s value.

If your mortgage loan is underwater, stripping liens is a possibility. Essentially, it prioritizes the mortgage lender over the HOA board. Yet, you will need to cover the fees of the HOA for the months after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Those fees won’t become part of the three-year or five-year payment plan.

Life can bring a variety of financial difficulties, and you may have trouble covering the ever-increasing costs of HOA dues. You can try to work with the HOA board to lower these costs. A few ways to reduce these costs are:

  • Review the contracts with vendors and overall landscaping fees
  • Check the budget to see if any sections are too expensive
  • Talk to other residents about deferring nonessential repairs in the community
  • Request quotes from other insurance companies and negotiate on the prices
  • Ask if the reserve fund may get used to pay for essential real estate improvement projects

Tips for Getting Out of HOA Dues

We have also put together a list of more ways you can get out of paying as many HOA dues. Take a look at the list below, and you’ll get closer to lowering those high HOA fees.

  • Join the HOA board and look at the finances
  • Ask the HOA president or board member to see the HOA budget
  • As part of the board, negotiate with the landscaper to cut costs
  • Negotiate with the property management company to lower their fees
  • Work with the HOA to push back nonessential projects to once every few years instead of annually
  • Use the reserve fund to cover more of the landscaping costs or standard amenities
  • Ask the HOA board if you can delay your HOA dues due to financial distress or debt issues

Joining the HOA board can make a real difference in your HOA fees, as you can start looking at contracts with the property management company, landscapers, repairmen, and more. You will see where the money is going and have more ability to negotiate contracts to lower fees.

If the landscaping costs are too high, you will want to negotiate with the landscaper to lower fees or even consider hiring a different landscaper with lower quotes. 

You can also consider switching the insurance company that covers the common areas of the community. That’s a good idea if the insurance costs seem too high. These steps should help you lower HOA costs.

Conclusion

Now, you should know how to get out of paying HOA dues in your neighborhood. You can try filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You can also negotiate with the HOA board to lower your fees. Yet, if you don’t want to pay HOA dues anymore, you may want to sell a house fast in Appleton to cash home buyers.

You can fix up a house for profit or even sell the property in its as-is condition. Reach out to cash home buyers in Wisconsin to sell your place quickly in its current condition. We buy houses Oshkosh homeowners love, so call us today!

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