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While an HOA or Road Owners Association can remain dormant for a long period of time, it can still be renewed upon appropriate action by the homeowners.
(These common interest developments are "reciprocal easements" on the properties that they effect and as such they remain as restrictions on the land).
However the fact that they remain as reciprocal easements does not mean that a few homeowners can simply impose fines or cause improvements on the common areas.
The homeowners that wish to revitalize an HOA or road owners association must go through ALL of the steps to revitalize such an association, including getting an appropriate number of votes to institute a board, and then they can take action such as putting out a bid for improvement of the association's common elements.
Simply sending out a bill with a punitive interest rate is not an appropriate means of re-establishing such an association.
To determine how exactly your association needs to go through this process you will need to pull the governing documents (the ones from 30 years ago) and find out what exactly the by-laws require for quorums and voting requirements to get an association board in place.
If you find that your association is acting improperly (which happens in a lot of these cases), you can oppose the imposition of these fines (there are 2 schools of thought on this - meaning two strategies each has their strong and weak points - on the one hand you can be aggressive early on and hire an attorney now, it has the down side of costing you money up front but you will likely avoid a lien against your property, on the other hand you can allow them to place a lien against your property and fight this later on - opposing their action and hoping your interpretation of the governing documents is correct - this has the plus side of not costing you money now, but the significant downside of having a lien against your property and the risk that if the HOA/Road Maintenance Organization is found to be correct, your fines and interest can be significant).