I am behind on my hoa. The HOA has yet to put a lien, but im sure that will happen soon. I am going to try to get on a repayment plan with them. I was wondering though, can they shut off my water or power for being behind?
Our condo was bult in 1987 so i would imagine that is when it was established. The reason i was curious about the water and cable is because the HOA pays for those things. I realize they can try to place a lien and foreclose. Would there be any point to do that though, if you owe more on your mortgage then what the property is worth? Who gets paid first, the mortgage of the HOA?
Family Law Attorney
It would be unusual for an HOA to have access to the utilities' controls to turn the utilities off. Water, cable, and electricity are usually provided by other companies.
Water and electric companies have to go through procedures to turn off those utilities. A person would get several notices from water and electric companies before someone one comes to the building to turn the meters off. If you are within the City of Seattle, the City likely is the company that provides both water and electric services.
Cable companies are also regulated. However, since cable is usually not a life or death utility, the cable companies can turn off the service any time.
If the utilities are provided by other companies, the HOA would be foolish to even touch the controls of those companies.
Even if the HOA can physically turn off the utilities, the HOA likely will need to follow the procedures governing the HOA.
Residential Real Estate Lawyer
The answer to your question depends on whether you live at an actual homeowners' association (formed under RCW 64.38) or in a condominium association that was created before July 1, 1990.
Only condo associations created under the Horizontal Property Regimes Act (RCW 64.32) which ALSO have an explicit grant to terminate utilities in their Declaration have the authority to terminate utilities for non-payment of dues.
So if you live in an HOA or a newer condo, utility termination is not an option for your association.
We strongly encourage homeowners who are behind on their dues to communicate regularly and openly with your board of directors. Resist the temptation to ignore this problem until times are better financially; by then, your association might have taken legal steps to collect (including a lawsuit to foreclose the association's lien against your property) which could add thousands to the amount you owe.
This answer is intended to provide general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.