Who pays the HOA fee if I’m renting?
A question I was asked recently by a prospective tenant was, “who pays the HOA fee when I rent?” Let’s think about the meaning of an HOA as we answer this question.
An HOA is a Homeowners Association. It typically includes access to shared community amenities like pools, clubhouses, golf courses, tennis courts, and the like - whatever facilities the community has that are shared. It usually includes the maintenance of all common areas like pools, common area grounds maintenance, keeping the clubhouse clean, etc. If the community is gated, it might include the cost of electronic gates, key cards, and computer equipment necessary to keep the gates functioning. In a guarded community, it would include needed funding for paying the security team. These amenities benefit everyone that lives in the community, so their costs are shared.
My first thought was that the owner would automatically be responsible for paying this, as it is a Homeowner’s Association fee. But think about this - who benefits from the association in a rental situation? To me, it seems that the tenant would benefit, because the owner wouldn’t have access to the amenities while the property was rented (that’s typically how the rules work, but they can vary).
Ultimately, the answer to this question will be found in your lease. Within the lease, all charges you (as the tenant) are expected to pay should be listed. Prior to agreeing to rent, be sure to ask who is responsible for this fee so you know the true cost of your rental before you sign the lease.
Why would an owner want to continue paying this fee with a renter getting the benefits of the association, you might ask? That’s easy to answer. If an HOA fee isn’t paid on time, the association can take legal action against the owner of the property to recover the money that hasn’t been paid and any interest or delinquency charges due (as specified in the HOA Agreement documents between the homeowner and the association). If fees aren’t paid over an extended period of time, the association could place a Lein against the homeowner or they could begin foreclosure proceedings in order to recover the amount of money the homeowner owes them. Many homeowners prefer to pay HOA fees for this reason - then they’ll know that the fees have been paid. They may be charging these fees to you as part of the rental amount they collect from you each month, but most owners will want to make the payments themselves to make sure they are being paid.
In summary, the lease document should specify who is responsible for for paying the HOA fees to the Homeowners Association. Because the homeowner is legally responsible for making sure the fees get paid, many homeowners want to be the one to make the payments, but you need to verify this in your lease or with the property manager / landlord / home owner before you sign a lease.
Are you a renter or a landlord with additional questions about how things typically work in a rental situation? Check out our blog to find answers to your questions at https://www.leesburg4rent.com/blog. New posts will be made five times per week on Monday through Friday. Our Leesburg rental properties are now fully occupied but I will continue posting answers to your questions on our blog. If you are interested in Lake County information, be sure to check in on Monday and Wednesday. Thanks!