Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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How to utilize special assessments

Homeowners associations in Missouri and elsewhere utilize collected fees to keep up community property. Unfortunately, there are times when those fees do not cover all community expenses. If allowed under community bylaws, special assessments may be collected to make up for any budget shortfalls -- usually caused by the need for repairs or special projects.

If an HOA board determines that collecting special assessments becomes necessary, it needs to send out a notice to residents explaining the situation. How much each resident owes needs to be clearly spelled out, and a due date needs to be set. Usually, these things are discussed at board meetings so that residents have the chance to share their two cents on the matter.

There are times when homeowners may disagree with the need for special assessments, how much is to be collected or how the funds are to be collected. This may cause problems for some HOA boards. Some residents may even threaten legal action. If an HOA board decides this is necessary, it just has to make sure it is doing everything above board in the event some residents pursue legal claims.

Special assessments have their place. Homeowners associations in Missouri that do allow for them just need to be careful with when and how to use them. HOA boards that have questions about special assessments and how to utilize them can turn to legal counsel for guidance. With the right help in one's corner, the appropriate steps can be taken to collect the funds necessary to keep one's community in tip-top shape. If residents pursue civil claims over special assessments, HOA boards can also turn to legal counsel for assistance addressing the matter in or out of court. 

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