Do I have to pay HOA dues after a development was built around our property?

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Do I have to pay HOA dues after a development was built around our property?

Our family property was the only house until a developer purchased and built a gated community all around our home. Our property is now inside the gated community, but we were never part of the development or the HOA, nor ever agreed to it, Now, after 20 years, the hoa have put a lien on our property and claim we owe them 20 years of dues. We explained that they built around us, and we never agreed, or were a part of the development, but they insist we have to pay. We’ve never participated in the HOA.

Asked on February 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The short answer is that if your property is not part of the community, you don't have to pay fees; period, end of sentence. You can't be made to join anything or pay anything you don't like. That said, you should confirm that you're not part of the community in some way; for example, is your property subject to any other agreements that would actually, despite your wishes, make you a part of  this community? It is unlikely but not impossible: if your land and the rest of the land all came from the same source originally, there could be some master agreement governing it all. You should ask the HOA to provide their evidence or proof that you are part of this community and subject too the HOA and the fees; you should also consult with a real estate attorney, who can review any deeds, leases, easements and anything provided by the HOA. Assuming you're in the right, you may wish to consider and ask your attorney about any counterclaim or suit--at least for attorney's fees!--you could bring in this case.


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