Nevada lawmakers are working on several bills to reform homeowners’ associations in the state, after fielding several complaints by residents who say debt collection agencies are coming after they when they fall behind on their HOA dues.

Homeowners’ associations are particularly common in Las Vegas. They collect dues from members to maintain security, landscaping, and common areas in the neighborhood.

Most of the bills pertaining to HOAs reflect the current struggles home owners are facing in Nevada, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country. The HOAs have been using collection agencies to collect delinquent dues payments from owners facing foreclosure, or even those who fall a little behind in payments.

For example, one home owner who fell behind on a payment of $78.24 said they now are being charged $3,300 in collection fees for the debt.

Some argue that the high fees are deterring buyers from buying foreclosed homes too. Thousands of dollars in liens from the homeowners’ associations can be placed on the homes if former residents fell delinquent on their bills.

Nevada lawmakers may consider a bill that would cap fees that collection agencies can charge, locking the fees at $1,950.

Source: “Nevada Legislators Consider Reform for HOAs,” The Associated Press (Feb. 25, 2011)