As the mail comes, you sort through the envelopes and packages like you always do. Then you see one letter in particular, from your HOA. After opening it, you find an unpleasant financial statement page listing a fee you are being charged with. How could this be?
Why the sudden fee? Can your HOA charge you out of nowhere? If this fee is from your HOA and is not the normal monthly fee, there is a chance that this notice is a Personal Reimbursement Assessment. As it is vital to your own and the HOA’s financial well-being, it is important to be educated on what this assessment is.
As a homeowner, you are probably familiar with the different kinds of fees that can be levied against you. HOA’s will more than certainly send out monthly fees as part of living in the HOA, fees that will generally go to the upkeep of the association and to pay for certain purchases and events. These charges don't often come as a surprise, but Personal Reimbursement Assessments might. These are given to specific homeowners who may have damaged HOA property or disobeyed rules set out in the governing documents. The most common reason for getting a Personal Reimbursement statement would be for the damage done to HOA property either by you, or by your guest. For example, if you dent the gate leading out of the community, the HOA will most likely try to levy a Personal Reimbursement statement against you. In other words, the HOA will have you pay for repairs to the gate, as it was damage done by you. The same case will occur if it was a guest of yours that did damage to HOA property.
Sometimes, homeowners will dispute the Personal Reimbursement Assessments simply by refusing to pay. Unless one is absolutely sure that the HOA is wrongfully charging them, the recipient of the Personal Reimbursement Assessment will, and should, pay. Homeowners that refuse to pay may be subject to other late charges and hearings, all the way to the extreme extent of foreclosure. Again, unless the fee is overwhelming and there is a way to prove that you do not deserve to be charged, it is better for everyone not to fight the assessment.
If HOA property was damaged because of something you or your guest did, expect a Personal Reimbursement Assessment. It is lawful for the HOA to levy such charges against you, and to ignore such fees will only result in more trouble on both ends. Unless the fees are overwhelming or seems absurd, it is better to be an upstanding community member and pay the fee.