Re: Assessment abatement request
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:02:08 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 26, 2015, at 1:47 PM, Pat Elliott <pdelliott43 [at]> wrote:
> A member of our community bought her unit last year but never moved in, her 
> circumstances having changed. For the last nine months, she has been trying 
> to sell it or rent it long-term with no success for a variety of reasons. Now 
> she is requesting that the HOA abate her assessments from about $320 to $100 
> a month until she either has a tenant or sells the unit.

As Tom said there are multiple legal consequences for doing this. If you do it 
file a lien.

But I would also raise the issue that you are also giving her a pass by not 
requiring labor. Is she helping with the landscaping? Cooking? The myriad of 
other things a new community needs? The community labor needs are  based on 
having all units contributing. If she isn’t contributing, you are already over 

A cohousing budget consists of two things: Money and labor. if labor is 
missing, the financial condition weakens, as well as the vitality of the 

And to put a blunt point on it, the owner may also be unrealistic in her 
demands on the sales price or conditions. She needs to be realistic and 
excusing her responsibilities is rarely helpful in encouraging that. 

As below, a current member might be able to give or loan her the money so the 
issue is between them, not the association.

It can  take a really long time for new community to realize that all is not 
milk and honey in cohousing. Everyone still has to support the community with 
money and time. And just because people are living in cohousing doesn’t mean 
they are honest.

> On Aug 27, 2015, at 12:02 PM, Elizabeth Magill <pastorlizm [at]> 
> wrote:
> We have created a "good neighbor fund" where neighbors can choose to help
> one another with expenses like HOA, meals, and coho expenses.

This has been discussed in our community but never acted on. I’ve been in 
situations where people were allowed to pay based on their own determination of 
need. I’ll never do it again on an institutional basis. 

Everyone has their own idea of what need is and unless there is standardized 
means testing, expectations of on person’s need can be another persons normal 
standard of living. Personal attitudes and judgements of who is deserving are 
also likely to be unfair. Unless you are an old community, and probably a small 
one, I don’t think this is workable.

Much better I think is to have residents give or loan money to each other 
independently of the association. The loans are made on the basis of personal 
knowledge and trust, not an institutional judgements. 

When we moved in (to repeat a story) there was a day when suddenly we all had 
to have 5% deposits in by 6:00 or lose our land. It was impossible for some of 
us to get funds released from CDs and IRAs that quickly. Community members 
found or designed a form that we used so community members could give short 
term loans to others for the purpose of making the deadline. This worked fine 
and it was on a person to person basis with the community facilitating the 

Sharon Villines, Washington DC

"Behavior is determined by the prevailing form of decision making." Gerard 

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