Definition of "Homeowner's fee"

Amy Melesky real estate agent

Written by

Amy Meleskyelite badge icon

Coldwell Banker Apex, Realtors

The definition of a homeowner’s fee is a fee that is charged to homeowners that belong to a homeowner's association. The homeowner’s fee usually includes the cost of maintenance, recreation, or other services. Homeowner's fees may be levied on a regular or irregular basis.


When discussing the homeowners association fee (HOA Fee) we are talking about a certain amount of money that is charged monthly by the association from the owners of properties within the community. The reason why the homeowner’s association is collecting these fees is to maintain and further improve properties and amenities managed by the association that the owners have access to. It is important to keep in mind that some properties can demand both HOA fees and condo fees. It is also important that you understand what they are used for so make sure you familiarize yourself regarding HOA FEES.

What is the HOA fee used for?

In regards to condominiums, the most common instance when HOA fees are applied, these fees are used to take care of the common areas of the building like elevators, lobbies, swimming pools, patios etc. There are some cases where the HOA fees also cover some utilities such as water, garbage disposal, and sewage.


When unforeseen situations arise, like the malfunction of an elevator or the need for a new roof, the HOA can demand/collect/levy specific funds, especially if their reserves are insufficient to cover the repair.


When it comes to single-family homes, while not a rule and not as common, there is a possibility for HOA fees. This can happen if the neighborhood has amenities that can be used by any resident from the area like tennis courts, parks, or clubhouse. Gated communities require HOA fees for their amenities as well as planned communities. It depends on the neighborhood you move to so make sure to inquire about HOA and HOA fees.

What if the HOA fee is not paid?

If an owner that lives in a home that is managed by an HOA, for whatever reason, does not pay their monthly or annual HOA fees, the HOA has the power and right to take the first steps towards the homeowner that’s late on their fees.

  • If the contract between HOA and homeowner states that late fees can be charged, then that is the first step;
  • If the contract between HOA and homeowner does not state late fees, then HOA can go to extreme measures and initiate a lawsuit, place a claim on the home or directly go to foreclose the property in order to collect their late fees.

image of a real estate dictionary page

Have a question or comment?

We're here to help.

*** Your email address will remain confidential.


Popular Real Estate Terms

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a measure of the cost of credit that must be reported by lenders under the Truth in Lending regulations. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) takes into ...

Window designed in an alcove extending outside the structure. A bay window makes the home look more attractive and adds light, as well as providing a better view. ...

Document evidencing the passage of title to a purchaser of property sold for taxes. The tax deed is issued upon foreclosure of the property lien. Typically, there is a grace time period ...

Impeding and restricting people in various activities based on their race, ethnic reasons, or religion now goes against US laws in effect. In the past, especially in the 1960s, ...

Increased satisfaction a buyer obtains from the purchasing an additional unit of a good, service, or property. ...

Geographic area that is attractive to prospective tenants. Square footage in an office building or apartment house that may be rented by a tenant. ...

To clip or prune shrubbery,etc. ...

Penalty charge in order to cure a previous wrong. ...

The definition of in rem in real estate is a legal case against a property rather than a person. The legal application of in rem in real estate is most often seen when a homeowner defaults ...

Popular Real Estate Questions