Q: My parents live in a subdivision that didn’t have a homeowners association (HOA) when they first moved there in 1998.

They did sign a PUD rider though. A year ago, they received a letter saying that they are behind in HOA dues.

They have never committed to being in an HOA or attended any meetings. Since they signed the PUD, are they obligated to pay the homeowner’s dues? Thanks!

A: Let me start by saying that your parents really need to talk to a real estate attorney about this issue.

You say they signed a PUD rider. Was that in connection with a loan they obtained? A PUD rider is a document that is attached to a mortgage and refers to a “planned unit development.” It would appear that when they signed the PUD rider, the lender may have known from the title report that the property was subject to some sort of association or other community living arrangement.

If in fact they live in a subdivision or community that is impacted by association rules and dues, then yes, they must contribute their monthly assessment. In return, they should benefit from having the association manage the common areas of the development.

But surely, the letter stating that they are “behind” in their assessments isn’t the first one that they received. There must have been other communications with the association.

They should know that choosing not to participate doesn’t mean you get to opt out of belonging to the HOA. For legal options, your parents should speak to a litigator with experience in real estate law.

April 15, 2007.