HOA Still Charging Dues To Homeowners Whose Houses Burned Down In Wildfire

Dealing with an unreasonable and inflexible HOA (homeowners' association) is kind of a cliché when it comes to living in the suburbs. And it's not like HOAs have gained that reputation without cause.

But an HOA near Boulder, Colorado has taken things to another level by charging dues for homes that have burned to the ground.

Wildfires decimated the Coal Creek Ranch neighborhood in Louisville, Colorado.

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The community in Boulder County saw numerous homes burn to the ground recently.

Houses in the neighborhood pay annual dues to a homeowners' association, and residents were surprised to see that they were still being charged for homes that no longer exist.

Dues amount to about $700 a year.

Unsplash | Ricardo Gomez Angel

"We have an automatic payment set up, so we paid before the fire, and then we were thinking, 'Oh, are we going to get that money back? We don't really live in the community anymore,'" explained resident Andrew Zimmer, whose home burned to the ground, to KUSA.

The HOA knows about the fire. The HOA doesn't care.

This isn't simply a case of the HOA automatically collecting dues. HOA board president Earl Hauserman sent a letter to residents acknowledging the fire while also stating that dues would continue to be collected.

There's a slight discount at least.

Unsplash | Artem Beliaikin

While most of the dues are still being collected, the HOA has generously deducted the trash fee, which makes sense considering garbage trucks aren't going to collect trash for houses that don't physically exist anymore.

They're putting a positive spin on things.

"Unfortunately, the bylaws require us to charge dues and believe me we have looked at any way not to," HOA president Earl Hauserman wrote in an email. "We are so concerned about this that we have started to raise money to support the families involved and after only a few days we have raised $12,000."

Wait, what?

The victims' fund is a nice idea, but kind of a weird one.

"It seems to me if you're raising money for people that lost their homes, maybe you start by not taking money from them," Zimmer said.

It's a tricky situation in any case.

Unsplash | Sharon McCutcheon

The HOA's legal counsel says that, even though homes were destroyed, there are still expenses to be paid. This makes sense, but it still seems unnecessarily harsh to make people pay even when their homes are gone.

The residents aren't having it.

The HOA has doubled down on charging fees, and residents are decidedly unimpressed. As a response, they've started a petition aimed at replacing the leadership of the HOA and replacing them with more compassionate people.

How would you handle this?

Lots of homeowners have HOA horror stories, but this one seemingly takes the cake. If you were a resident here, what would you do? Would you just grumble and keep paying, or would you lawyer up?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

h/t: KUSA

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