Legislators at all levels of government have acknowledged the looming crisis facing homeownership due to the COVID-19 pandemic—one that is reminiscent to the Great Recession that peaked in 2008. Among the 73.9 million Americans living in community associations, some may not be able to pay their association assessments.
During the Great Recession, a CAI survey found that nearly half of community association respondents (46%) characterized assessment delinquencies and property value declines as “serious.” More than one-third of those community associations had a delinquency rate greater than 11%. In 2014, only 7% of respondents indicated they had a delinquency rate of greater than 11%. Note: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration will not secure mortgages in communities with greater than 10% delinquency.
If history informs when community associations assessments will be impacted, it will follow mortgage delinquencies.
According to mortgage data firm Black Knight, 2.15 million mortgages were more than 90-days delinquent as of December. U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey data collected from mid- to late-December show that 15% of survey respondents with a mortgage had no confidence (6%) or only slight confidence (9%) in the household’s ability to make mortgage payments due in January.
Congress and state governments continue to grapple with measures to secure housing stability for people who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.
Congress is currently considering the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides funding for eligible housing expenses by creating a Homeowners Assistance Fund to help Americans stay in their homes. In the past year, CAI has advocated to ensure community association assessments are deemed eligible housing expenses—which have been included in this bill. Contact your state representative today and urge them to support this legislation.
Congress also has passed legislation providing funding to help Americans pay their housing obligations such as rent and mortgage payments. Two avenues provide grants for Americans in need of financial support for their homes:
Housing Assistance Fund: The U.S. Department of Treasury provides these funds to state housing finance agencies. Similar to a fund that was created in 2008 to help American families stay in their home due to the global financial crisis, states like Michigan allowed the use of funds for community association assessments. The Michigan Housing Finance Agency received more than $760 million. Dozens of states have received hundreds of millions of dollars.
COVID-19 Community Development Block Grants. Distributed by state and local governments, these funds support ownership housing security, including community association households. CAI supports additional block grants to allow state and local governments to continue providing mortgage assistance to households facing reduced incomes. These government programs have effectively and efficiently delivered substantial amounts of mortgage support. Many of these programs have tailored assistance for financially distressed community association households.
CAI continues to urge Congress, state, and local legislatures to allow these allocated funds for community association assessments, specifically for homeowners who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. These funds are for individuals, not community associations, but board members and managers should ensure residents are informed of these types of resources.
Check with your local and state governments, including your state housing finance agency, to see if they have block grant funds to support assessments. If they aren’t eligible, take action. Urge your state and local legislators to allow individuals to use these grants for assessments.
Visit to CAI’s Take Action Center for information on contacting your state and local representatives.