All members of a homeowners association pay monthly fees to cover routine maintenance and upkeep of the property. Another name for these monthly fees is a regular assessment.
However, sometimes there is a need for special repairs that the monthly fees do not cover. In this situation, the homeowners association may need to levy a special assessment. This is a fee that homeowners pay on top of their regular monthly fees temporarily until the HOA has enough money to pay for the repairs. Associa offers some tips for HOA boards that need to levy a special assessment.
Check the community bylaws
The bylaws may have rules limiting the HOA’s ability to levy special assessments. There may be limitations on the amount the HOA can charge members or it may be necessary for a majority of members to approve the special assessment.
Communicate with members
The HOA should communicate with members early on about the need for a special assessment and how much each member will likely have to contribute. Timely communication and complete financial transparency help to maintain goodwill between the board and members.
Hold a meeting
The HOA board should hold at least one informational meeting at which members have the opportunity to learn more about the assessment and voice any concerns they may have.
A special assessment benefits the entire community. Nevertheless, members are often hesitant about having to pay more money, if not outright opposed to the idea. These negative feelings can be understandable, especially in situations in which the assessment could pose an undue financial hardship. The HOA board should handle these situations with sensitivity.