No limit to amount HOAs can charge

But owners have the right to challenge fees they consider 'excessive'

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DEAR BENNY: My homeowners association fees are of great concern to me, since I am on a limited income. The monthly fees are $399, and this, combined with my mortgage payments of nearly $1,400, creates a burden. I have been a widow since 1973 and am, of course, a "retired" senior with no retirement income benefits.

Is there a limit to the amount that homeowners associations can charge? I felt that I could handle their fees when I bought my condo in 1998, when the monthly fee was $185. But, the increases over the years have now come to an amount that deprives me of many necessities, i.e., a dishwasher, a working clothes washer and dryer, shower/bath repairs, not to say anything about necessary painting, cleaning, etc., and everyday living expenses. I love my condo, but it is very difficult financially. –Dot