Last year, community volunteers, Association Managers, and homeowners all across Georgia helped defeat H.B. 410, a bill that would have led to increased HOA dues. Unfortunately, that bill is rearing its' head again and causing trouble for community associations.
To recap, H.B. 410 limits a number of the fees that management companies charge a homeowner at closing. The bill passing would mean that the Realtors lobbying for the bill would not need to worry about those fees when selling a home. There's just one problem: those fees are vital to the communities.
Why is HMS even charging fees?
The money that a management company charges during a closing goes toward providing all of the relevant services to the closing attorneys, the Realtors, and the buyer and seller themselves. Providing correct, up-to-date documents and details takes time, and time equals money. When communities have the right to determine how to cover these closing costs, they consistently choose to add them to a closing and keep their HOA dues lower. This is true all across the United States.
In fact, the monthly management fees in the Atlanta area are 30% lower than the national average! That is the business model that has come from a free market where the Boards and the management companies negotiate terms themselves. The government stepping in to regulate our work does not make it any cheaper for us. If the expenses stay the same and the one-time closing fees go down, then that money has to come from somewhere. In the case of management companies all across Georgia, monthly management fees will have to go up.
Does it really matter where the money comes from?
Yes! If management companies raise their monthly fees to make up the difference, and HOAs raise dues to make up the difference, then the people who suffer are the ones who live in the community. Everyone would have to pay for a service that only benefits the person selling their home. That's the one person who is leaving the community! We think that it's better for this money stay in the community with the people who benefit from it.
How do we stop our Dues from going up?
Right now, the version of the bill moving through the government sets those closing fees to a level that management companies can deal with. But right this second there are people trying to amend the bill and get those one-time fees pushed as low as they can. If H.B. 410 has to pass, we need to know it won't have a last-minute amendment tacked on to force up monthly fees.
We all need to contact our representatives and respectfully ask that they oppose any amendments to H. B. 410. If we all speak up and explain our grievances calmly and rationally, we can help ensure that living in a community Association is the enjoyable and rewarding experience that it should be.