Q. Can our HOA charge interest on owners’ accounts that have both unpaid assessments and unpaid fines? 

A. California law is silent on an association’s ability to charge interest on unpaid fines.  Unless the Association’s governing documents contain a provision that allows it to charge interest on unpaid fines, the Association would only be able to charge interest on past due assessments and related charges according to Civil Code section 5650(b)(3).  That provision allows the Association to charge an annual interest rate of up to 12% on past due assessments, reasonable fees and costs of collection, and any reasonable attorney fees the Association has incurred in trying to collect on the account. To avoid unlawful interest charges, the Association can either keep fines on an account separate from assessments, or make sure that any amounts owed in fines are not factored in to the interest charged on the account. – Elisa M. Perez, Esq.