HOA Fees Skyrocketing


Article Courtesy of CBS 12 News -- West Palm Beach

By Alex Zequeira

April 1, 2009

Foreclosures do not only affect the folks who lose their homes, but more and more, neighbors are also taking the brunt of a home lost on their block. They're having to pay extra in association fees. And in most cases, they have very few, if any options.

For the folks living in the Shakerwood community, in Wellington , higher HOA fees have skyrocketed in recent months. Residents there are having to pay $230 more, and there are multiple reason for the fee hike.

The neighborhood consisting of 92 homes, has 25 to 30 of those homes empty. That means less people to pay association fees.

"We don't have many people paying on time or at all. We do have foreclosures, and the money is not there... I just feel like a victim who has to pay for everybody else," said Anthony Candusso, a resident.

For the most part, Candusso is right. Contractually, a bank does not have to pay association fees once foreclosure proceedings have been filed. But residents still have to pay.

"When a bank is in foreclosure it's not paying assessments... It's not obligated to pay assessments... So therefore, it's in the banks best interest to drag out the foreclosure as long as possible," said David Karpinia, an attorney with the Becker & Poliakoff Law Firm.

Making matters worse, the residents living in Shakerwood, don't enjoy a community pool or a guardhouse. In fact, in the past couple of years, they've had their street repaved and that's it. And paying hundreds more in HOA fees, is hurting Candusso and neighbors financially.

"It hurts a whole lot because my husband just got laid off and I clean houses for a living, but everyone has left or can't afford me... So I'm not doing anything," said Danielle Goldberg.

Without any alternatives, experts say the best thing a resident can do if he or she finds themselves in this situation is to lobby for new state legislation that would discourage long foreclosure proceedings and prevent banks from reaping the benefits that others, have to end up paying for.