What Laws Empower Georgia Homeowners Associations to Collect Assessments?
The Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act (GPOAA), at O.C.G.A. §44-3-232, provides for collection of maintenance assessments, special assessments, late fees, fines, collection costs and attorney fees, and interest. Special assessments, late fees, fines, collection costs and attorney fees, and interest may only be assessed if authorized by the declaration. Id. Maintenance assessments must be the same for all owners if paying for common expenses affecting all homeowners more or less the same. Special assessments can be charged to fewer than all lots if different homeowners are affected differently by the expenditure or if one or more lot owner or tenant caused the expense.
Late fees can be assessed at the greater of $10.00 or ten percent. Fines can be imposed for noncompliance, but only to the extent authorized by the declaration. Interest can accrue at a maximum annual rate of 10.00% per year. Chargeable collection costs include “court costs, the expenses required for the protection and preservation of the lot, and reasonable attorney's fees actually incurred.” Non-GPOAA associations can only charge interest up to 7.00% per year unless the declaration expressly authorizes a higher rate. Northside Bank v. Mountainbrook of Bartow Homeowners Association, Inc., A16A0005 (Ga. Ct. App. 2016). To understand which statutes govern your community, you may visit the Georgia HOA Laws Guide.