Wow, I never thought of that. We have several units that used to have screen porches that enclosed them. I have never had one, I am paying more than my fair, and they pay less. !! I dont have your answer, but you enlightened me to check into this, thank You.
ISN'T OBVIOUS THAT EVERY UNIT SHOULD BE MEASURED ON THE SAME BASIS?. ENCLOSED OR NOT ENCLOSED, HEATED OR UNHEATED, IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. THE SPACE BELONGS TO THE mEMBER AND SHE SHOULD BE CHARGED FOR IT.
First, your county's listing for the square footage is the basis used for assigning property taxes and as such takes legal precedence over what is stated in your Bylaws. Consequently, your HOA should assign assessments based on your county's square footage else the HOA can open itself up for litigation which it will lose.
Should you or any owner disagree with the square footage listing in your county's records, talk to your county to understand what it would take to potentially correct. Realize that an attempt to correct could result in higher property taxes.
Bottom line, your assessments should be aligned with county square footage records to pass any court test from litigation.
A few years ago, our condo association came across the same issue. Our resolution was to fix the scrivener error in the community documents to match that of the county. This way we are using apples and apples.
Now if the county records are incorrect it should be brought to their attention as some may not be paying their fair share of property taxes. Remember though, that this may create bad feelings if some of your counterparts get a bill for higher taxes.
All answers failed to take into consideration that the documents normally reflect the architectural drawings and the recorded plats. In changing any of this information, the condo should first have an architect or engineer review these important drawings - then the legal instruments must be changed by amendment process. This may effect deeds to each unit as well as mortgage descriptions.
The condo will need to evaluate all of this information prior to changing the assessment values of each unit.
Proceed with caution and with legal counsel advising the steps necessary.
This is a case for circumspection. Your attorneys should be the first line.
Thank you all for your feedback. There are only 24 condos. Drawing plans for the first three buildings (16 inits) are not included in our by laws. Years ago these units were charged according to the value of each unit. Also over the years there have been several builders. My building is included in the builders drawings as mine is the newer one. Our board doesn't want to get an attorney involved. As far as my neighbors getting upset in case theirs would go up that is too bad. We have to be honest. My calculations showed a mistake so I have to pay more too. Our builder went bankrupt and left a mess for us.
Whether your Board wants an attorney or not you really need one. It's not only for the existing Members it's for all Members in the future.
I'm confused. Just because the budget went up square footage needs to be re-determined? Apparently there is quite a difference between states and/or condo docs regarding the determination of fees and assessments. Our docs define the percentage each unit pays with those percentages based on square footage when the place was built. While we can change the docs with approval of 67% of owners state law say the percentage of ownership cannot be changed without the approval of 100% of owners, a really impossible task. There is nothing in our docs or state laws that would require a redetermination of square footage at any time. In any event, I doubt the management company or the board can make any changes without changing your docs which must require a vote of the membership and maybe, like my state, would require 100% approval. Check the docs and state law. Seems like folks are going to a lot of trouble and should be checking this stuff out first for clarification before any final action can be taken. I also doubt that an attorney is needed, just check the docs and law. As for additions such as the screen porch someone mentioned, our docs say that such additions are the complete responsibility of the owner thus there is no need to re-calc square footage in that instance either.
If units enclosed what were previously open areas, this may change the square footage. I am no expert, but I believe that enclosed areas are part of the square footage since they have become living space whereas open areas (like patios and balconies) are not. Did they have permits to enclose?
Is the air conditioning and heating paid by the individual unit? If so, it probably doesn't make a big difference, but it seems the association is paying for this based on what I've read here. If the living space area changed, so did the heating and air conditioning needs (AND the square footage of living space).
Further investigation seems to be needed.
I agree with Steve. I assume this is a Condominium Association (where all unit owners own a % of the common elements). If not.. what I say may be irrelevant. How your fees are assessed is dictated by your governing docs. In our building, it it based on % of ownership (of the common elements). The unit Square footage was the original basis for determining % of ownership, but beyond that, square footage no bearing on our condo governance. Most folks equate Unit size to assessments, but in reality, it is more likely % of ownership that determines the amount.
If your docs state that Sq footage should be used, then they should also spell out the process for modifying that. If there is a cost to do that (architects, inspectors, etc) then that cost would be shared by the owners (based on % of ownership)... so it would probably negate any potential savings for those who would benefit from restating the assessments.
Go buy a home you can really own. HOA's are going bankrupt anyway! Get out when or while you can! I can't, our stupid HOA sued its sister HOA, now this has to be disclosed, I will loose either way, as I am a member of both! They run our associations like the gastopoe! Power hungry individuals with a need to rule over others! Nobody really likes them, they just don't know what to do, so they go along with the boards, until they can sell.
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I want to distill the comments made by RPB, which I agree with.
The recorded Declaration is required to set forth the percentage interest of each unit. It is the percentage interest in the Declaration that governs. It is irrelevant what the county determines is the square footage of a unit, or what a group of owners may have measured.
If the percentage interests in the Declaration are wrong, they may be recalculated by the current Board. The recalculated percentage interests must then be adopted by the Association membership as an amendment to Declaration that is to be recorded in the land records.
The Declaration states that percentage interest must be based on square footage. The current percentage interests set forth in the Declaration were determined/calculated/established by the original developer of the condominium.
If new units were added to the condominium after the recordation of the Declaration, the developer was required to record an amendment to the Declaration setting forth the recalculated percentage interest of all/each unit.