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HOA Fees: What Are They and What Do They Include?

March 04, 2019
Pirate ship pool and park in Snowden Bridge Community by Brookfield Residential in Winchester, Virginia

Moving into a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA)? How much do you have to pay and what do they cover? In this post, we discuss what HOA fees include, who pays them, if they are negotiable and how they are collected. We also explore if you have to pay HOA fees if you aren't using the amenities/facilities as well as what happens if you don't pay the fees.

What is an HOA fee?

HOA fees are regular fees, often monthly or quarterly, that pay for the services a homeowners association provides. The fees are assessed by the homeowners association and paid on top of your other home expenses such as property taxes and your mortgage payment. Most often, HOA fees are used by the homeowners association to maintain the shared spaces of the community you are living in.

Is there a difference between a homeowner association for condos and single-family homeowner associations?

Condo owners pay a similar fee to an HOA fee, but it is paid to a condo association rather than a homeowner association. A condo association offers the same services a homeowner association offers but for a condominium community rather than a neighborhood.

What do HOA fees cover?

The things your HOA fees cover may very from HOA to HOA so be sure to take a good look at your HOA’s governing documents for the full details. However, most HOA fees cover the following things:

  • Grounds maintenance and landscaping (mowing, snow removal, etc)
  • Facility upkeep (pools, tennis courts, etc)
  • Utilities for common areas
  • Seasonal lighting for common areas
  • Community events

Do all residents pay a homeowners association fee?

Yes, all residents living within the homeowners association are required to pay a homeowners association fee. This may be different for tenants living in a rental property within a homeowners association depending on the stipulations of the lease agreement.

How much are HOA fees?

Most HOA fees range between $100 and $500 per year, according to Heather Cockerline, Community Experience Lead with Brookfield Residential. However, the cost of your HOA fees can vary depending on things like the size of the community and the types of amenities provided.

Are homeowners association fees negotiable?

No. “There's an encumbrance set on your individual title, and that's done through the planning process of creating the community,” says Heather. Meaning, HOA fees are set during the planning stages of the community and although they may change, they are not negotiable.

Do I still have to pay HOA fees if I don't use the facilities or amenities?

Yes. If you are living within a homeowners association, you still need to pay your HOA fees even if you don’t plan on using the facilities or going to community events. Heather says you should really think of your HOA fees as going towards the upkeep of your community so that you can have pride in ownership.

What happens if you don't pay your HOA fees?

If you don’t pay your HOA fees on time, “your account does go into delinquency and then we would hope that you would pay within the next 30 to 60 days,” says Heather. After that, there’s a risk of the fees being sent to collections. HOA fees are usually so minimal that you shouldn’t have to worry about them.


HOA fees are inevitable for some of us. However, for most people, the pros of an HOA and paying for one, usually outweigh the cons. HOA fees provide things like manicured lawns, pristine tennis courts, and clean community pools so that you and your family can enjoy your community and have pride in where you live.To learn more, check out our blog for more helpful content, like our guide to the best places to move in Canada, or contact us directly to speak with one of our home buying experts.