Always check your homeowners association fees and amenities before buying a home. Be sure there are no additional homeowners association fees or dues you have to pay before using common elements, like a community swimming pool, spa or workout facility.

Do homeowners association fees provide access to a swimming pool and spa – but we don’t

Q: We just purchased and closed on a home with community pool/spa listed in the local multiple listing service (MLS) in a gated community. 

As it turns out, the pool is not for this subdivision in the community but another one. Since it was on the MLS, do we have any recourse? It was a deciding factor in the purchase.

Homeowners association docs should list amenities

A: Just about every multiple listing service document we have ever seen states the information has not been verified and is not guaranteed. To protect yourself, get as much information as they can.

If the community pool/spa was so important to you, did you get copies of the documents that go with the property you purchased? Those documents would outline the association you belong to and would outline the expenses incurred by the association. As with any community amenity, those amenities cost money. That money needs to be collected from the homeowners in the form of monthly or yearly assessments.

Review your homeowners association documents to see which amenities are included

If you reviewed the association documents, you would have seen no expenses for the pool and spa. You also might have seen that your assessments were considerably lower than the properties that actually get the use of the pool and spa.

You will have to talk to an attorney in your area about this issue. Did the real estate agent tell you that the pool and spa was included in your assessments? Did she take you to the property to show off the pool and spa? If so, you might have a better case. But if the agent relied on the seller for that information, you may not be entitled to remuneration.

Can you pay homeowners association fees to use the swimming pool and spa?

Can you join or pay a fee to use the pool and spa? You might find that the cost of using the facilities may be about the same as if you lived in the community that has the rights to use it. There are various options that you might try to satisfy your needs to use the facilities before hiring an attorney.

  1. Talk to the neighboring homeowners association
  2. Find out if you can pay a fee to utilize the pool and spa
  3. Explore other pools in the area to see how much it would cost to join 

Did the seller know his homeowners association fees don’t permit access to the pool?

Let’s say you find out that the seller actually knew that his homeowners association did not have the right to use the pool and spa. And, let’s say the seller lied to get you to buy the home. You might then have the right to go after the seller. And if the broker knew, but went along with the lie, then that broker might have liability as well.

However, given your letter indicates your information came from the multiple listing service, it would seem that you have an uphill battle to fight. Keep us posted.

Ilyce Glink is the publisher of and writes the Love, Money + Real Estate newsletter. Sign up here.

Read More About Homeowners Association Fees:

Homeowner’s Association Rules and Fees: Can They Foreclose on Your Home?

What Happens When HOA Rules Aren’t Enforced?