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What to know about HOAs

According to a 2015 study, the average HOA fees in San Diego County, California were $296 a month. Typically, such fees can range from $150 on the low end to as high as $850 a month, and the fee will cover different items depending on where a home or condo is located. In most cases, the fees will cover landscaping in community areas, but it may also cover the cost of a rec center or a pool.

Homeowners associations that charge higher rates may offer additional services such as conference centers or valet parking. In addition to landscaping, the monthly HOA fees will cover pest control, exterior building maintenance as well as insurance for the building. Cable, water and trash bills may be covered in addition to other utilities that may be provided by a town or city.

Covenants and restrictions may also be imposed on those who live in a planned or gated community. These restrictions may apply to how many pets an individual may have or what color a resident can paint his or her home. Typically, the rules are enforced by a professional property management company that has contracted with the HOA, and that company is responsible for communicating with homeowners if rules are not complied with.

Those who are in the midst of an HOA dispute may wish to talk with an attorney. Legal counsel may be helpful in situations where informal talks with other neighbors or with the HOA leadership itself were not enough to resolve the issue. Legal counsel may be able to give advice as to what steps a homeowner may want to take to resolve a dispute before pursuing legal action. This may be enough to resolve a dispute amicably and without risking any relationships between members of the community.

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