If one lives in a community (a “Resident”), in which there has been a longstanding non-profit corporation calling itself a “homeowners association” (the “HOA”), with bylaws, and registered with the state, that conducts meetings, does maintain certain ”common areas” (primarily roads not maintained by the local municipality), and invoices “members” (meaning anyone living in that community) for such efforts, is the Resident obligated (under any theory, statutory, contract, etc.) to pay those invoices, when the Resident purchased a home in the community recently, and never signed any contract with the HOA? The Resident was not provided with the HOA’s bylaws until well after moving into the community, and had paid past invoices on the belief that payment was voluntary among those living in the community (i.e., for the common good of the community), until the invoices increased dramatically (without forewarning or explanation). The home is a private single family home on private property, accessible by dirt roads not maintained by the municipality. The HOA was not mentioned in the closing papers for the purchase of the home, and there is no mention of it on the Resident’s deed for the property. Can the HOA compel payment?
Can the HOA compel payment?
Yes, at least from the standpoint of unjust enrichment or quantum meruit. That is because the resident obtains some benefit(s) from the HOA's activity & expenses, such as the maintenance of common areas and other items that advance the common good of the community.
However, a drastic or arbitrary increase in invoices might not be enforceable, especially if these are unreasonable. The HOA would need to persuade in court that the resident accepted or would have knowingly and willfully accepted such drastic change.
HOA bylaws: Are they enforceable absent a contract?
If by bylaws you mean something other than bills, the question would depend on the substance & scope of those bylaws as well as the HOA's/resident's jurisdiction.
It is noteworthy that a written & signed contract is oftentimes unnecessary. There is the notion of "implicit contract" to refer to rights and duties that can be inferred from the parties' conduct and the expectations that can be inferred therefrom. This notion of implicit contract is common in situations where there is no written document that reflects the parties' intent in the relation they willfully enter.