HOA Pros & Cons
Last Updated: Apr 26, 2012
Gated communities grow more popular each year in Costa Rica. Expect to pay $120,000-$1,000,000+ to purchase a home in a gated community.
In Costa Rica, gated communities may be listed by their Spanish names – condo, condominio, or residencial – and also the English term, gated community. In contrast to condominiums back home, Costa Rican condos are often townhouse or single-family home communities. High-rise condominiums are growing more common in San Jose and some beach areas like Jaco and Tamarindo. All gated communities – single-family, townhouse or high-rise – have a homeowners' association (HOA).
True to their name, gated communities have a front gate and guardhouse, offering added security for residents. They also have shared amenities, which may include a pool, rancho, meeting room, playground, walking trails and more. The HOA also requires that all residents perform required upkeep, so your neighborhood is guaranteed to be clean and the homes well maintained.
When you purchase a home in a gated community, you are required to follow all HOA rules, including pet restrictions. The HOA may also order assessments, such as mandatory contributions to upgrade community amenities. You may join the HOA board in order to earn a vote regarding any changes or assessments. Monthly fees start around $50 and can exceed $700; these fees are subject to increase every few years, per the HOA agreement.
Be sure that your real estate lawyer does a thorough review of your homeowners' agreement. You must understand how monthly dues are assessed – per unit, per lot size, per number of bedrooms – and what they include. Determine your rights, such as whether you can hire independent contractors (painters, gardeners, etc.), or if you must work with community contractors.