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If my HOA refuses to pay for plumbing repair , as stipulated in the CC & Rs can I subtract my plumbing bill from the HOA ?

Chula Vista, CA |

My upstairs neighbor , who is on the Board , flooded my unit , resulting in my electricity going out permanently . Also my sink leaks . The CC & Rs stipulate that the HOA is responsible for " plumbing " . Instead of paying , they threatened me with fines if I tried to collect . They made good on their threat and have fined me for several rules I have not violated . Each month the fines are not paid , I incur 10% interest . Sometimes they convene and create new rules that would only pertain to me . They also block my doorway and throw trash in my parking space . Sometimes they call the sheriff to complain about noise , even though I'm either not making any noise or I'm not even home . I'm wondering if I should just pay for the plumbing issues and take it out of the dues I pay each month ?

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Attorney answers 3


I don't practice in CA so I don't know how useful this will be. In WA, homeowners are not authorized to claim an "offset" and refuse to pay dues for similar reasons, or to withhold payment of dues over a dispute with the association. You should consider consulting with a local attorney experienced in community association law to understand your options, which could include a small claims action against your association for reimbursement of the plumbing costs. Good luck.

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



Thank you for the excellent advice. Unfortunately, I have consulted an attorney (3 of them). The cost ratio of plumbing bill to retainer fee makes legal assistance cost prohibitive. However, I'm really glad you set me straight on withholding dues.. Thanks again


Unlike a landlord-tenant relationship, a member of an HOA can't withhold dues the same way a residential tenant can withhold rent. In California, HOAs are governed by the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act. Homeowners have a duty to pay their homeowners association (HOA) dues assessments. California Civil Code §1367.1(a) provides as follows:

"A regular or special assessment and any late charges, reasonable fees and costs of collection, reasonable attorney's fees, if any, and interest, if any, as determined in accordance with Section 1366, shall be a debt of the owner of the separate interest at the time the assessment or other sums are levied."

You need to get the issue resolved through your HOA board. Unless the CC&Rs provide otherwise, the HOA board is responsible for repairing, replacing, or maintaining the common areas. (Civil Code §1364(a).)

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


You cannot just deduct amounts from your dues. Doing that could get you into a lawsuit.
I suggest you put in a claim with your insurance company, your neighbor's insurance company and the hoa's insurance company and let them fight it out.