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What are HOA dues and why am I paying them?

Posted by Kevin Hughes on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 8:49am.

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When HOAs are mentioned it can stir up a controversy of mixed views between people with polarized opinions concerning the value and necessity of homeowners’ associations. Imagine buying a home in a gated lakeside community or subdivision.  As in any community they will have to pay state, property and income taxes, but in a community governed by an HOA they will be required to pay other fees as well. 

So exactly what are HOA dues and why does an Idaho Real Estate owner have to pay them? What is an HOA?

Since 1964 homeowner’s associations or HOAs have increased steadily in the United States.  In 2006 it was estimated that twenty-three million homes and fifty-seven million residents were governed by HOAs.  An HOA follows a series of bylaws with minimal state oversight.  Some of the association’s responsibilities mirror that performed by a local government, but unlike municipal governments they are not subject to the same constitutional constraints that municipalities must abide by, and it retains the authority to enforce its actions through the threat and levying of fines and legal action.  In an HOA development, membership is mandatory for all property owners who live within the neighborhood boundaries and members are also required to pay membership fees which vary between being monthly, quarterly, and yearly, and they are reminded that it would be in their best interest to attend HOA meetings.


What are HOA responsibilities to Idaho Real Estate owners and why do they collect fees?       
Depending on the neighborhood the HOA oversees, the rates can vary between twenty five dollars a month to up to six hundred dollars a year.

  • An HOA establishes and collects fees for neighborhood maintenance and beautification.
  • An HOA is responsible for maintaining recreational facilities such as tennis courts and playgrounds, keeping them free from graffiti and vandalism.
  • It provides a space for neighborhood functions.
  • Of utmost importance, it provides neighborhood security.
  • It makes arrangements for street maintenance.
  • It enforces deed restrictions including exterior home maintenance, commercial use of property and brush and garbage clean-up.Despite the benefits, HOAs can be the subject of scrutiny, but that is largely due to poor leadership and management. 
  • Some home owners criticize HOAs for imposing onerous regulations on how they use their own property.
  • Because they are in essence a de-facto government entity that is not bound by the constitutional restrictions of a municipality some HOAs have been accused of being undemocratic, suppressing the rights of their residents.
  • Some HOAs have been guilty of board misconduct.
  • Some property owners feel they are paying a double tax, their property taxes in addition to HOA dues.
  • When acquiring property one must weigh the pros and cons of an HOA.  Some residents feel that HOAs are a benefit to the neighborhood and pay dues for the increased value to the Idaho community.
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