Condominium and Homeowners Dues: Mandatory or Voluntary?
So the property was just turned over to you. You are now officially a homeowner. A few weeks after, you receive your first invoice for your monthly homeowners’ association dues. What is it? Why do you need to pay it? What happens if you don’t?
What are Condominium / Homeowners’ Association Dues?
By definition, homeowners’ association fees are “the annual or monthly fee charged by homeowner’s associations to fund maintenance and improvements for property under their jurisdiction.”
Homeowners association is a nonstock, nonprofit association registered with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), or one previously registered with the Home Insurance Guarantee Corporation (now Home Guaranty Corporation) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), organized by
 Owners or purchasers of a lot in a subdivision/village or other residential real property located within the jurisdiction of the association;
 Awardees, usufructuaries, legal occupants and/or lessees of a housing unit and/or lot in a government socialized or economic housing or relocation project and other urban estates;
 Underprivileged and homeless citizens as defined under existing laws in the process of being accredited as usufructuaries or awardees of ownership rights under the Community Mortgage Program (CMP), Land Tenure Assistance Program (LTAP) and other similar programs in relation to a socialized housing project actually being implemented by the national government or the LGU.
Are these fees mandatory or voluntary?
The Presidential Decree No. 957, otherwise known as “The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers’ Protective Decree,” is the basic law that protects the rights of buyers in a subdivision project. Section 30 of P.D. 957 provides the following:
SECTION 30. Organization of Homeowners Association. The owner or developer of a subdivision project or condominium project shall initiate the organization of a homeowners association among the buyers and residents of the projects for the purpose of promoting and protecting their mutual interest and assist in their community development.
Therefore, the developer of a condominium or subdivision project is mandated by law to initiate the formation of a homeowners’ association from “among the buyers and residents of the projects for the purpose of promoting and protecting their mutual interest and assist in their community development.”
Pursuant to Sec. 30 of PD 957, developers often include a provision in their contracts of sale that stipulates that the buyer in a condominium or subdivision project automatically becomes a member of the homeowners’ association of the particular project.
However, Section 9 of Resolution No. 887 Series of 2011, the “Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9904,” notes that membership in the association is optional, unless otherwise provided in the Contract to Sell, Deed of Sale, or other instruments of conveyance, or annotated in the title of the property.
Therefore, HOA membership is still voluntary under RA 9904 with certain exceptions.
What happens if you opt out of HOA and not pay the monthly / annual dues?
By virtue of Section 22(a) of RA 9904, it is unlawful for any person to compel a homeowner to join the association, without prejudice to the exceptions indicated in the said provision.
Therefore, homeowners can opt not to become a member of the association. However, Republic Act 9904, or the Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners’ Association, stipulates that a homeowner will get “the right to enjoy the basic community services and facilities, provided that he/she pays the necessary fees and other pertinent charges.”
Notice the use of the word “provided.” This connotes that as long as you pay association dues, you will be allowed to use the condominium or subdivision’s shared amenities and facilities. But if you don’t, then you can be denied of certain benefits.
Lovette Jam is a founding member and blogger of Filipino Homes. She is a freelance digital media professional. With a Masters in Business Management degree and Hubspot certification on Inbound Marketing, she currently works as a social media manager, project manager, and digital consultant.
Lovette Jam is also the founder of Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. She authors the travel blog Travel Jams and lifestyle blog Lovette Jam.