I am one of the officers of our homeowners’ association. Lately, there are members who refuse to pay the association dues, yet they still demand their right as a member. We could only guess that their refusal to pay the dues is because they failed to win in the recent election of officers of the association. May I know what action can we take against them?
We have a special law that can address your concern. This law is Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9904, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners’ Associations” which is particularly crafted to recognize and promote the rights and roles of homeowners as individuals and as members of the society, and of homeowners’ associations. To achieve its purpose, the law provided, among others, the rights and duties of a homeowner, and the legal implications in case of breach of such rights and duties.
The Magna Carta provides that an association member has full rights to (1) avail of and enjoy all basic community services and the use of common areas and facilities; (2) inspect association books and records; (3) vote and be eligible for any elective or appointive office of the association; (4) demand and promptly receive deposits required by the association that have become due; (5) participate in association meetings, elections and referenda; and (6) enjoy all other rights as may be provided for in the association bylaws (Sec. 7, R.A. No. 9904). However, such rights entail corresponding obligations, to wit: to pay membership fees, dues and special assessments, to attend meetings of the association, and to support and participate in projects and activities of the association (Sec. 8, Ibid.). Thus, while a homeowner can demand to be accorded certain rights, he or she may also be required to perform certain obligations.
Given that the law itself has imposed certain obligations on a member of a homeowners’ association, his or her failure to abide will have legal repercussions. On this score, the pertinent rules provide that “unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, a member who has failed to pay three (3) cumulative monthly dues or membership fees, or other charges/assessment despite demands by the association, or has repeatedly violated the association’s bylaws and/or declared policies, may be declared delinquent by the Board of Directors” (Sec. 13, Rule 3, Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 9904). Declaration of delinquency by the Board will result in suspension of the rights and privileges of the concerned member, and other sanctions as may be provided in the bylaws of the association (Sections 15 & 16, Ibid.).In relation to this, please be informed that the declaration of delinquency by the Board is necessary before the rights and privileges of a member may be suspended.
Applying the foregoing to your case, the non-paying members of your association are still entitled to demand their right as a member despite the fact that they refuse to pay the association dues. However, this does not mean that the association has no recourse. Upon the non-paying member’s failure to pay the three (3) cumulative association dues despite demand, the board of directors of your association may declare them as delinquent. Such declaration will effectively suspend their right to enjoy the rights and privileges of a member, and burden them with other sanctions as may be provided in your association bylaws.
To declare the delinquency of a member, the board or a designated committee should comply with the procedures laid down in the rules, which includes written notice of the charge to the concerned member with directive to explain in writing within fifteen (15) days from receipt of notice, hearing and deliberation of the case, and majority vote of all members of the Board (Sec. 14, Id.).
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com