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HOA rules and risks

A home is supposed to be a person's castle, but for many in Louisiana living in homeowners' associations or other managed properties or communities, home is a place regulated by a long list of regulations. Adding a new fence or a unique mailbox could put a homeowner at risk of ending up on the wrong end of a dispute with the association.

As Huffington Post explains, most HOAs have a long list of rules all of the people are supposed to live by called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. Since these are so long and tedious to read, many people treat them like the user manual for a common product and figure things out for themselves. Yet ignoring them is a common way to end up at odds. Nothing would be more frustrating than spending $100 and hours to get your holiday decorations up by Thanksgiving only to be fined an additional $100 because your HOA only allows decorations after December 1. Agreeing to live in a place with an HOA means learning the rules.

For those who do end up frustrated with their HOA, refusing to pay dues or assessments is not the answer. As the Los Angeles Times explains, failure to pay can result in hefty legal fines and even foreclosure. Late payments can collect interest, incur late fees, and the homeowner can be charged the cost of lawyers for the association as well. Even fines charged for an infraction of an HOA regulation can be charged interest if unpaid. This is one reason people shy away from purchasing in a development managed by an HOA. Although there can be benefits, there areannoyances and financial risks as well.

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Lundy, Lundy Soileau & South, LLP

Main Office: 501 Broad Street Lake Charles, LA 70601 | Phone: 337-439-0707

Mailing Address: PO Box 3010 Lake Charles, LA 70602 | Fax: 337.439.1029