Is buyer responsible for past due HOA fees?

Asked by David Pieksma, Colton, CA Wed Feb 13, 2013

Looking at buying a Condo, Some listings that I have sent to my agent come back with past due HOA fees in excess of $15k that he says I would be responsible for paying in cash if I bought the condo. It doesn't seem right to me to force the new buyer to pay the penalties from the previous owner's problems. Is this true?

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Ron Thomas’ answer
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Mon Feb 18, 2013
Just one of the examples of the inequities in dealing with HOAs:
You will experience more.
The HOA is smart enought, (most know this), that if they file a LIEN against the Condo, that it will be wiped out at the Foreclosure: They want to collect from anyone they can. There is no FAIR!

Visualize taking 150 hundred dollar bills and holding a match to them!
0 votes
Shanna Rogers, Agent, Murrieta, CA
Wed Feb 13, 2013
HI David,

If the property is a short sale, the seller most likely doesn't have the money to pay the past due fees (that's why they're past due). However, if you're really interested in a short sale property with past due fees, have your Realtor write up the offer stating the seller/lender will pay any past due fees. Worse they can do is say 'no' and then you move on to another property. Best case scenario, they agree to pay them (rare, but not unheard of).

Shanna Rogers
SR Realty
0 votes
Teresa "Tedd…, Agent, Hemet, CA
Fri Sep 5, 2014
I thought if the buyer was financing the purchase it is against the law for the buyer to pay the delinquent HOA fees....
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Feb 18, 2013
This is true, and it is absolutely right and just.

Basically, a Homeowners Association is simply what it says it is - an association of homeowners. It is not "right" for the other homeowners to pick up the slack from the delinquent seller's failure to pay the dues, and the dues are a lien against the unit (the same way taxes are).
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John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Feb 18, 2013
You should look at the necessity of paying the past due HOA fees as a cost of acquisition. If the cost of the unit plus the cost the HOA fees that you actually pay is still less than or equal to the market value of the unit, you would not be overpaying. Many buyers pursue short sales because they think that a short sale should sell for less than other properties. That is not true in many markets these days.

On the other hand, if you must pay market value for the unit and add the delinquent HOA fees on top of that amount then I believe you would be overpaying.
0 votes
Josh Barnett, Agent, Chandler, OK
Thu Feb 14, 2013
It all comes down to what is agreed to in the purchase contract.

Best of Luck
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Walter 'Skip'…, Agent, Brea, CA
Thu Feb 14, 2013
This is a common request in a short sale where the current lender will not approve the payment of past due HOA amounts. I am not saying it is right but rather a common request.
Good luck,
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Wed Feb 13, 2013
Hi David!

If you are buying a short sale property, you may indeed run into a scenario where the buyer has o pay the unpaid is what it is...fair doesn't really enter into it. If you don't want to pay those fees (which I certainly understand) then move on to something else.

It's a strange market!! Good luck.
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Wed Feb 13, 2013
Normally past due hoa fees are only passed onto the buyer in auction or in some short sale listings. You can always make an offer asking the seller pay all past due hoa fees and if they dont move onto a listing that will.
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