Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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How does an HOA benefit short-term owners?

A common problem that Florida HOAs have is convincing owners who buy homes for short-term gains to accept the long-term financial commitment that comes with belonging to an HOA. In other words, getting them agree to help fund long-term projects. For those who consider their home a short-term investment or even a short-term residence, the thinking may very well be: “Why should I have to pay for something that I do not plan to use?” It is a valid question, and one that HOAs need to be able to answer if they want to sway voting members.

According to, there are several valid arguments to maintaining and even adding to reserve funds for these types of projects. Whether homeowners are short-term or long-term residents, they can benefit in a variety of ways.

Maintaining avoids fines

Building codes that address fire and safety issues must continue to be met or the HOA could be fined. If your community center roof needs to be replaced and it is ignored, you may heavy fines from local fire and safety inspectors.

Benefits are immediate

Even though a homeowner may plan to stay only a few years, the benefits of making repairs is immediate. Owners can use a swimming pool as soon as it is built and enjoy a community center without worry once the roof is repaired. If a roof or another structural problem is serious enough, a safety inspector can close the doors and ban the use of the facility until repairs are made. If that happens, everybody loses.

When you sell

No matter how long you plan to live in a home, you will reap the benefits when you sell. As more home buyers become savvy about HOAs, they have begun looking at HOA budgets and asking about funding reserves and any special assessments that may be looming. Under-funded reserves may send a red flag to potential buyers and lower their offer. Making multiple repairs instead of replacing streets, roofs or other items may also make them cautious.

Of course, there is also the approach of explaining what an HOA does, which maintains a standard that keeps the community in good repair so homes retain their value. If it comes to this, ask them why they bought a covenant-controlled home in the first place. Hopefully, that will remind them of the value of an HOA to those who are house-hunting.

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