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My homeowners' association owes me money. Can I deduct my HOA dues in lieu of payment?

Seattle, WA |

I have asked a related question. I live in another state. Without my knowledge or consent, my HOA and their management company allowed two displaced tenants from another unit to stay in my vacant condo, complete with furniture and cat. The pair told them I had given my permission. I certainly did not...and the HOA didn't bother to ask me.

When I found out through a neighbor, I had them evicted. The HOA/management company said that I would be made whole, and apologized. However, they have not done so. I asked for two weeks' rent or $587 plus $250 in cleaning costs. They refuse to reply. One month has passed. The HOA's own counsel advised just paying me, but they refuse. Can I just stop paying my HOA dues for two months? I can't fly to Seattle just for small claims' court.

The HOA actually paid movers to physically move the squatters' furniture and cat into my condo., and out again. Yet, they refuse to reimburse me, despite promises to do so. I think they are afraid of being sued. I don't want to ... I just want to have my property respected and money paid to me for rent! I don't operate a free flophouse for displaced tenants. I had to pay to have the placed cleaned up for showing. Thanks for any help!

Attorney Answers 2


  1. See RCW 64.34. You owe the HOA dues under the terms of your agreement with the association. Your dispute with them about their trespass would be an entirely different matter. In other words, if they sued you for the dues, they would win.

    [In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]


  2. The prior answer is correct, and there is case law squarely on point to this question. There is no right to "offset," and homeowners who have a dispute with their association are specifically NOT authorized to withhold payment of dues because of any such dispute.

    If you don't pay your dues and the association takes legal action to collect, you will be held liable, and you'll have to pay their costs/fees.

    Your best bet is to do small claims court when you are next in Washington. You can also hire a lawyer to send a demand letter and ask for attorneys' fees, but if that doesn't work, you'll be further in the hole because of those fees.

    Good luck.

    Avvo answers are intended to provide general information only; not legal advice.

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