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Our HOA wants to charge every homeowner 1200
to add a well and sprinkler system for the
common grounds. This wasn’t part of our HOA
agreement nor disclosed at the time that I
bought my townhouse. These sprinklers wouldn’t
be for our own lawns but for the common areas.
Can we be forced to pay this?

Asked on July 27, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what authority the HOA has to levy new fees, and whether they have exercised that authority properly and legally according to the governing documents (e.g. HOA agreement). To use an analogy: take Congress. Congress has passed many laws (and taxes) not even remotely contemplated by the founders; but so long as they act within the scope of their authority as granted by the documents establishing the U.S. and Congress (the Constitution) and follow the rules and procedures laid down for them in doing so (e.g. how votes are conducted, number of votes needed), such previously uncontemplated laws or taxes are legal.
Simlarly, if the HOA has the authority to levy new fees, at least for certain purposes, and this fee falls within the scope of the HOA agreement and was properly passed according to the procedures laid down in that agreement and any by-laws (as to notice, chance for opposition, quorum, how vote conducted, etc.) is legal and you can be required to pay. You need to look to the governing documents and then to the records of the meeting at which this was adopted to see if it is legal.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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