There are homeowners who purchase their home completely unaware that their purchase automatically made them a member of a lake or homeowner association. In these instances, membership usually remains undiscovered until the Association records a lien against their property for unpaid dues/fees/ assessments for thousands of dollars that accumulated over the course of several years.
Association boards are made up of volunteers/laypeople who are also Association members. Associations try to keep expenses down so as to keep dues and assessments low for all members. Dues and assessments are typically nominal and billed annually. Associations tend not to be proactive in pursuing the collection of delinquent accounts until the amount due is substantial as the cost of collection is difficult for Associations to front.
In order for an Association to enforce dues/assessments/fees, homeowners must first have legal notice of membership within their chain of title. If there is no mention of membership obligations in the chain of title, the Association will have a difficult time proving its right to assess dues, etc. absent a written contract.
As soon as you become aware of an Association’s claim against you and/or your property, it is important to contact an attorney to review your case and assist you with defending the claim. Trying to resolve the matter on your own could result in increased legal fees for the Association and those fees will be passed on to you.