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What do HOA fees include? (what homeowners ought to know)

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


March 4, 2019 - Karl Yeh

 The fees that you would pay would cover things such as taking care of the facility if there is one within the community, the staff that take care of the facility, upkeep, maintenance, including in and around the entire community, whether that's mowing or snow removal.

Moving into a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA)? How much do you have to pay and what do they cover? In this episode, we discuss what HOA fees include, who pays them, are they negotiable and how are they collected. We also explore if you have to pay HOA fees if you aren't using the amenities/facilities and what happens if you don't pay the fees. 

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Hi, everyone. Karl here, and welcome to another Homebuyer's School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts. Remember, if this is your first time on this channel, and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below. [00:00:30] Hit the little notification bell, so you don't miss anything.

Today, I'm joined by Heather Cockerline, Community Experience Lead with Brookfield Residential. Today, we're talking about homeowner association fees.

I'm sure it's your favorite topic.

Heather Cockerline:              Yeah.

Karl Yeh:              Yeah. Can you let me know

What exactly is included in a homeowner association fee, so what does it cover?

Heather Cockerline:            

The fees that you would pay would cover things such as taking care of the facility [00:01:00] if there is one within the community, the staff that take care of the facility, upkeep, maintenance, including in and around the entire community, whether that's mowing or snow removal.

Karl Yeh:              That's not mowing your personal-

Heather Cockerline:             Not your yard. That's extra.

Karl Yeh:              Yeah, yeah.

Heather Cockerline:           

But seasonal lighting, all of those types of things would be included in your fee. Also, different [00:01:30] events, some programs would be included in that.

And then if there is not a facility, then it would just strictly include enhanced maintenance, all the other things that I just mentioned.

Karl Yeh:              When you say programs or events, things like a festival of lights-

Heather Cockerline:             Yeah, exactly.

Karl Yeh:              ... that your community puts that on?

Heather Cockerline:            

Or, a Stampede breakfast.

For instance, right now we're in the Cranston Homeowners Association. They have an amazing breakfast that they do every year for Stampede, and that would be included, [00:02:00] so you would come with your family to that event.

Karl Yeh:             

Do all residents pay a homeowners association fee?

Heather Cockerline:            Yes, they do.

Karl Yeh:             

Yeah, and when you say residents, obviously people who live in the community and people who ... How about tenants, same thing?

Heather Cockerline:             

Well tenants, it depends on what their arrangements are with the people that they're renting from, but it is the responsibility of the condo owner to make sure that their [00:02:30] account is in good standing so that their tenants would be able to utilize any facilities that we have.

Karl Yeh:              You mentioned not just condo owner, like any resident.

Heather Cockerline:            Any resident.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Heather Cockerline:            That's right.

Karl Yeh:             

Do you know how are they collected? How often?

Heather Cockerline:             

Once a year, you'll get an invoice in the mail.

That can be paid for by going to the HOA facility if there is one.

If not, there is an online payment arrangement that you can make. But again, that's something that you would want to speak to your individual [00:03:00] HOA association to find out what the best way to do that is.

Karl Yeh:             

Remember, if you want to know more about homeowner associations, watch our video above and in description below.

Is there a difference between a homeowner association for condos or single-family homeowner associations?

Heather Cockerline:            

No, it's the same, so anybody living in the community would benefit from the perks of living in a community that has a homeowner's association, so whether you're in single-family or a condo, all [00:03:30] things are open for the entire community.

Karl Yeh:              Great.

Are homeowners association fees negotiable?

Heather Cockerline:             No. They are not.

Karl Yeh:              Okay.

Heather Cockerline:            

There's an encumbrance set on your individual title, and that's done through the planning process of creating the community.

Karl Yeh:             

In your opinion,

What's the average homeowner association fee?

Heather Cockerline:            

They do vary, depending on what the size of the community is and what's involved, whether it's just ... [00:04:00] If it's a small community or if it's a very large community with something like a lake, the rates do vary.

So I would say on average, they run from $100 to $500 a year. Not per month, a year.

Do I still have to pay HOA fees if I don't use the facilities or amenities?

Karl Yeh:             

Let's say I don't use anything. Either I don't like it or it's just not in my lifestyle.

What happens if I don't use any of the facilities, any of the amenities. Do I still have to pay the HOA fee, and why would I have to pay that?

Heather Cockerline [00:04:30]:            

Yes,  you do still have to pay the HOA fee, but you need to think of it as not just the events that maybe are happening in a community or going to use a tennis court, but we get back to being pride of ownership.

Your fees go towards everything that's happening within the community, and so for a lot of us, maybe that's only, say, 30 bucks a month, if you really break it down.

To me, that's three coffees, really, right?

Karl Yeh:              Yeah.

Heather Cockerline:            

To make sure [00:05:00] that you have pride of ownership when your friends and your family come to visit you in your community.

But what we would encourage is that if there's something that isn't happening through your HOA, bring that up.

Go to the AGMs or just go to the facility and ask for the events that you want or ask for the games or whatever it is that you're looking for that would help create that sense of community or sense of belonging for you.

Let us know and we will try and implement it as much as we can.

Setting up a new activity in an HOA

Karl Yeh:             

One thing I wanted to [00:05:30] ask in terms of maybe not related to fees, but let's say you wanted a new activity in the community and let's just say for example the community doesn't offer hockey, and you want to put together a drop-in hockey activity Monday nights.

How would you go about doing that in a homeowner association?

Heather Cockerline:               

It's really easy. You would [00:06:00] just talk to the facility here, find out is the ice rented on that day, is it not, and try and work it out that way.

Karl Yeh:              Okay, cool. In terms of fees,

What happens if you don't pay your HOA fees?

Heather Cockerline:               

If you don't pay, then your account does go into delinquency and then we would hope that you would pay within the next 30 to 60 days.

If [00:06:30] that doesn't happen, there is the risk that you can be sent to collections to collect the funds.

Karl Yeh:              Got it, got it. But the fee is usually, it's pretty reasonable. It's not like-

Heather Cockerline:              

It's so minimal.

Exactly, so as we were just saying, we're ranging from $100 to $500 a year and so when you look at it that way, it should be pretty manageable for almost every person in the community.

Karl Yeh:             

Perfect. Do you have anything to add in terms of homeowner association fees?

Heather Cockerline:              

Nothing on the fees. I [00:07:00] think that if you want to find out ways for you to enjoy your HOA a little bit more, then feel free to bring your ideas forward.

Everybody's always excited to find new and exciting things to do.

Karl Yeh:              Great. So the question of the day I have for you is:

Do you pay a homeowner association fee, and what benefits have you gathered from it?

Let us know in the comments section below, and remember, if you enjoyed this video or found it helpful, hit the thumbs up button, [00:07:30] remember to comment, and remember to subscribe. Thank you and we'll catch you next time.



Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional homeowner or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from home buying experts.  


About Heather Cockerline:

Heather Cockerline is the Communities Experience Lead at Brookfield Residential.  Heading up a new role in the land development industry, Heather is proud to be working with residents to co-create communities that impact their sense of belonging and overall quality of life.

With over 10 years in the development and home building industry, Heather is using her extensive knowledge of the journey of home building to guide and influence the industry to a more wholistic planning approach that is collaborative, proactive and evidence based; creating a new standard of excellence for North American developers to reimagine and deliver complete communities. 

Heather is a true ‘people person’ with a passion for customer experience.  Seeing happy, healthy, thriving people living their best life possible is what drives her to challenge the status quo, working at all sectors and levels, including the municipal government level, to ensure every resident feels a sense of belonging. 

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