Taxpayer dollars used to pay HOA fees - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Taxpayer dollars used to pay HOA fees

LAKE WORTH, FL (WFLX) - Homeowners' Associations can force the state to foot the bill for unpaid maintenance fees. A recent court ruling could help communities recoup the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost in the housing crisis. But the true burden falls on taxpayers.  

The Homeowners' Association at Willoughby Estates in Lake Worth say some residents are unable or unwilling to pay their maintenance fees making it harder to cover basic maintenance services. "It puts a stress on the community where they can't provide any services or improvements to the community," says Steve Polino, Property Manager.

Now, a court ruling may force those payments. Rent on some of the homes are subsidized by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. A Circuit Court Judge has ruled if renters getting HUD money can't pay their Association fees, the federal agency itself will have to pay them, using your tax dollars.

"This is a situation all community associations are facing right now and the recent amendments to the statute give the association an additional tool to collect those assessments," says Attorney Gerry Collins, who represented Willoughby Estates in court.

A court order requires the West Palm Beach Housing Authority to pay $3,000 in fees for a delinquent homeowner at Willoughby. The ruling paves the way for other homeowners' associations to try and recoup fees from HUD. Administrators with the West Palm Beach Housing Authority are out of town this week and couldn't be reached for comment.

Attorneys say the ruling doesn't set a precedent, but it sends a message to housing authorities that a court could hold them responsible.

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