Special Assessment - what for?
HOAs use special assessments to raise money from owners in addition to the regular dues and assessments. This can happen for several reasons.
The most common reason for a special assessment is the HOA's reserve fund won't cover the cost of repairing or replacing parts of the property the HOA is responsible for. Over time, the HOA should be setting aside money in their reserve account, based on recommendations in a Reserve Study. If the HOA doesn't set aside enough money over time, they have to specially assess the owners at the time repairs are required.
Special assessments are based on a budget which should include an itemized breakdown of the special assessment. The HOA is obligated to follow the guidelines in Washington state laws and the governing documents for approving and collecting any special assessment. Individual unit owners are obligated to pay the special assessment, just like they are obligated to pay regular assessments.
If owners don’t pay the special assessment, the HOA has the right to collect the special assessment the same way they have the right to collect the regular monthly dues. The HOA also may structure the special assessment in different ways. For example, a lump sum may be required, or quarterly payments. If there is an HOA Loan in place, the special assessment is typically structured as a monthly payment with options to pay off the lump sum.