When evaluating your budget for purchasing a home in Florida, you need to account for more than just a monthly mortgage payment. Florida homeowners incur other expenses too, like utilities, real estate taxes, and, in many cases, HOA fees.
Below, we’re going to look at exactly what homeowner association fees are, what they cover, and how much you might expect to pay.
What are HOA Fees?
HOA fees are dues that homeowners have to pay if they live within an HOA community. These dues are mandatory, so you’re not able to opt out of them. Some communities require a lump sum payment when you first move in, followed by ongoing monthly payments. Others only require ongoing monthly payments.
Other names that HOA fees go by include: HOA dues, community service fees, and amenity fees. Additionally, some communities have HOA fees along with membership fees. This is common if you’re living in a community with a golf course.
What Do HOA Fees Cover?
Exactly what HOA fees cover varies from community to community. In general, you can expect your HOA fees to cover:
- Common area maintenance
- Legal services
- Electricity for common areas
- Irrigation systems
- Road maintenance
- Pest control
- Tree trimming
- Gate maintenance and repairs
Some homeowners’ associations also negotiate with vendors, like internet, television, or alarm system companies. In that case, your HOA fees may cover those services too. It’s important to understand exactly what your HOA fees cover so that you can budget properly.
How Much Are HOA Fees in Florida?
According to iPropertyManagement, Florida has HOA fees well above the national average. The average HOA membership fee for a single-family home is $250 per month. So, if you move to an HOA community in Florida, you could end up paying significantly more. Some communities may charge under $100 while others charge rates in the $1000s.
How much you’ll owe in HOA fees really depends on the specific community that you move to. The number and quality of amenities, the number of homes within the community, and how well the HOA works to keep costs down all affect the HOA fees.
HOA fees aren’t stagnant either. They often increase year over year as the homeowners’ association’s budget changes to accommodate the increased costs of managing the community. For example, from 2005 to 2015, estimated national yearly collections of HOA fees increased by 32.4 percent.
Do All Homes Have HOA Fees?
Not every home in Florida has HOA fees, but the majority do. In fact, only 32.7 percent of homeowners in Florida own properties that aren’t in an HOA community. So, whether you want to live in an HOA community or want to avoid them, it’s a discussion you should have with your realtor. A good Florida realtor will know which properties come with HOA fees and what those fees cover. They can help make sure that you’re looking at properties within your home buying budget and your monthly budget too.
Can You Get Out of HOA Fees?
The only way to get out of HOA fees in Florida is to purchase a home that’s not in a homeowners’ association community. Otherwise, you’re stuck paying HOA fees if you intend to continue owning a home within an HOA community.
If you fall behind on or fail to make your payments, the HOA will take action against you. Every HOA handles unpaid dues differently, but common steps taken by HOAs to collect dues from owners include:
- Sending notice of the late dues
- Restricting your access to community amenities
- Foreclosing on your property
- Sending the debt to collections
- Tacking on late fees
- Filing a lien against your property
Can An HOA Evict a Tenant?
In many states, HOAs cannot take any actions against tenants who rent from an HOA homeowner. However, in Florida, a homeowners’ association can evict a tenant in certain situations.
Legally, Florida HOAs can:
- Collect past due assessments from tenants if the homeowner-landlord falls behind: The HOA can notify tenants that all rent payments must be paid directly to the HOA. The amount paid would go toward paying off the homeowner-landlord’s debt. And, as long as the tenant continues making these payments, the tenant can’t be evicted by the landlord.
- Prevent tenants from having member rights: Tenants who find themselves making rental payments to an HOA to pay off a landlord’s debt do not have the rights of a community homeowner. They can’t vote in HOA elections or look at the HOA’s records.
- Evict a tenant. If tenants decide not to make their rental payments to the HOA and continue to make payments to their landlord, the HOA can evict the tenant.
Do HOA Fees Include Taxes?
Don’t confuse HOA fees with property taxes. Along with paying your HOA fees, you will also need to pay property taxes on your Florida home. Fortunately, Florida is known for having lower property tax rates and a homestead exemption that lowers the taxable value of your home.
Quick Facts about HOAs in Florida
A homeowners’ association (HOA) is an elected governing body of paid or volunteer community members that maintains community specific covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R). The HOA serves the community and works to preserve the community and maintain property values.
In Florida, HOAs are fairly common:
- Percentage of Florida homeowners who belong to an HOA:3%
- Percentage of Florida’s population that lives in HOA communities:5%
- Number of homeowners’ associations in Florida: 48,500
- Number of people in Florida who live in HOA communities: 57 million
- Number of homes in Florida that are part of HOA communities: 52 million
- Average number of residents per HOA in Florida: 197
The Bottom Line on HOA Fees in Florida
Living in an HOA community is fairly common in Florida. So, whether you’re moving to Florida with kids or spending your retirement years in Florida, you’ll need to decide if you’re open to living in an HOA community. If you are, pay close attention to the HOA fees and the community’s rules and regulations. And, make sure that you’re able to afford your monthly mortgage payment, utilities, and any ongoing HOA fees.