Kids and HOA dues
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2007 15:00:35 -0700 (PDT)
Mac from Heartwood said:

Our dues are based 50% on number of people in household and 50%
divided equally per household.

Hmmm, I've never heard of dues being assessed that way. What's much, much more common (as others have already indicated here) is that part of the dues are the same for every household or every unit, and the other portion is based on square footage of the unit. The HOA owns, maintains and insures the building(s) we live in, so a bigger unit costs the HOA more, regardless of how many people live there. Two big expenses that you didn't mention that HOAs have are replacement reserves and insurance. and those are two more for which the number of people who live in each home, or for that matter the total number of people living in the community is irrelevant.

But if you are going to charge for any common expense per person, I think that charging for children sends your community down a slippery slope. Let's say that some of the kids are destructive (or just say harder on some of the common property), than most of the adults. Well, I'm guessing that some of the adults are quite a bit harder on the common property than others, and perhaps even more than a destructive kid.

Even if all the kids were more destructive than all the adults--which I doubt--as an adult without kids I'm as committed to paying for the maintenance and repair of what the kids damage, as I am to playing my share for playground equipment or child care for meetings, even though I'll never use those things. Besides, if my kid breaks something, I as a parent expect to pay for the replacement or repair myself, just like I would pay if my dog dug up the garden or if I dropped and broke some dishes in the common dishes. Besides, as a community member without kids I want to do all I can to support parents who are raising kids in my community, and not requiring them to pay extra dues because they have one or more kids is supporting them as surely as making sure that we have play equipment or child care at our meetings that is paid for by everyone.

I can't help but think back to the early sixties when my parents told me that a town official (in the Boston suburb where I grew up) came to their door promoting the defeat of a school bond measure in an upcoming local election, He was mom said "totally shocked"... when Mom said that she and my dad strongly supported the school bond measure even though my sister and I were no longer in the public schools, having gone off to college. His attitude was, why would anyone want to support the local schools if they didn't have kids in school at that very moment.

Now rules or decisions that kids or teens are expected to contribute to the community in other ways than having their parents pay higher dues for them, is a different matter entirely. I applaud engaging the kids in age appropriate tasks as contribution to community life.

Joani Blank
Swan's Market Cohousing.
Oakland, CA

Joani Blank
land line (preferred): 510-834-7399
cell: 510-387-1315
joani [at]

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