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Bought a Condo? The Responsibilities of Condo Associations


When you buy a condo, what you actually own is the inside of the unit itself; all unit owners own everything outside of their unit, proportionately and collectively. For example, you as an owner of a unit and all the other unit owners collectively own hallways, stairs, pools, recreation centers, grass areas, etc.

Since all unit owners collectively own anything that is outside of the individual units, all owners must provide funds to maintain these common elements. In most communities, owners elect members from their ranks to form a Condo Association, whose charter is to establish a condo budget, collect condo fees from unit owners, manage the repair and maintenance of common elements, and to oversee the affairs of the community. Many Condo Associations hire Property Managers to undertake these functions, but the responsibility and accountability remains with the Condo Association.

The Condo Association is responsible for determining the amount of money needed to manage the affairs of the community. In addition, the Condo Association must maintain sufficient condo funds in reserve to address any emergency costs and to prepare for larger maintenance projects that occur less frequently (e.g. replace all roofs in the community). Based on anticipated expenses and the need for reserve funds, the Condo Association sets the amount of the monthly condo fee, which must be paid by all unit owners. The Condo Association can also impose special HOA assessments on the owners if unforeseen expenses are incurred.

Condos offer a variety of benefits to their owners. Condos tend to be less expense than real estate owned by other methods, many communities offer amenities such as pools and tennis courts, and there is no hassle of personally maintaining a yard or others structures outside of your unit. So if you like living next to many neighbors and want access to a variety of amenities at an affordable price, then condominium ownership may be a good option.

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