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HOA Assessments Not to Blame for Phoenix Foreclosures

9/22/2017  -  Falls Church, VA

​In response to the Arizona Republic's article, "Illuminating the murky business of Phoenix-area HOA foreclosures," Community Associations Institute (CAI) respects the paper's attempt to shed light on the serious problem surrounding Arizona home foreclosures. However, we believe the paper missed the mark by not addressing three key facts of HOA assessments in addition to the fundamental right and responsibility conveyed by all homeowners living in a community association.

● Collecting HOA assessments can be one of the most demanding and burdensome responsibilities of a community association. The dues/assessments are specifically designed to fund the necessary repairs and maintenance needed to sustain and elevate property values within a community. These necessary monthly assessments fund the community's municipal-like services and unique amenities. When homeowners stop paying their monthly assessments, the bills to maintain the community do not stop. Important common elements like streets, roofs in certain communities, sidewalks, or a building's elevator still need to be maintained. Trash in certain communities still needs to be picked up, and the pool and gym serviced to avoid unsafe conditions. Common areas like a park, greenbelt, trees, plants and grass, still need to be watered and maintained.

● When a homeowner cannot afford to pay his/her monthly assessments, the burden falls to the rest of the homeowners to absorb the extra expenses until the delinquent homeowner can start repayment. Community association homeowners have the right to fair treatment regarding financial obligations, including the opportunity to discuss payment plans and options with their association before foreclosure is initiated. Foreclosure is a last resort for HOAs. Neighbors don't want to foreclose on neighbors. Your article pointed out several examples of how community associations worked compassionately and cooperatively with owners who hadn't paid their assessments for years.

● Homeowners have the responsibility to know the association's rules and their financial obligation to the association and their neighbors by reading and complying with all of the community's governing documents. These documents outline the process of collecting monthly assessments, late payments, and fees. Responsible association homeowners will help each other understand their obligations to the community and their neighbors to preserve property values and a sense of community.

To suggest that HOA assessments are a culprit behind the Phoenix foreclosure rate is misleading, especially to the 1.8 million Arizonans who live and work in these thriving communities. These homeowners are doing the right thing. They pay their assessments, and if they fall on hard times, they communicate with their board to discuss an appropriate payment plan. As Americans, we know if we stop paying the car payment, the bank may tow the car away. And if we don't pay our credit card bills, the collectors start calling and our credit will dwindle. So why should HOA assessments and the communities they support be treated any differently?

Community Associations Institute – Central Arizona Chapter – www.cai-az.org


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