The homeowners' association's (HOA) attorney represents the HOA as an entity. The HOA is separate...
Every HOA should be aware of how its governing documents treat transfers of ownership due to inheritance. The new owner has an obligation to follow HOA laws just the same as the previous one did. The requirement to follow HOA rules passes along with the property. HOA membership is not optional when one inherits a home within a common-interest community.
New Owners Must Pay the HOA Fees
HOA owners are required to pay the monthly or quarterly fees when they are due. If the previous owner did not pay HOA dues before they passed, the new owner will be liable for the shortfall because the bill goes along with the property instead of the person. Those who do not pay HOA fees could even face foreclosure. HOA fees apply to ownership of the property no matter whether it is occupied.
Depending on the governing documents, the HOA could try to charge a fee for the transfer of ownership because an inheritance does mean a new owner. This may be allowed. Anything that the HOA does must be supported by its own governing documents and state law. Accordingly, the HOA should take some time to review its rules before it assesses any fees.
Any Changes to the Property Could Require HOA Approval
The new owner may want to renovate or make other changes to the property to either move in themselves or ready it for sale. The HOA will have the right to decide whether certain changes to the property are allowed. The rules could be very detailed, and they must be followed. HOAs have the power to fine people who do not follow the rules, and they could file lawsuits for violating covenants. That is not to say that everyone who inherits property will have issues with the HOA. For an owner, the best way to deal with an HOA is to communicate with them to know the rules and how the HOA may react to certain changes.
At the same time, the HOA’s power is not unlimited. They could face legal issues if they overstep their rules. Many associations contact an HOA lawyer if they are having a dispute with an owner to ensure that whatever they are doing is allowed by the governing documents. In the end, the best situation is avoiding any legal issues before they could even arise.