A.A. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My condo building consists of 50 units in varying sizes: 2 bedroom, 1 bedroom and studio. The current monthly fees already cover expenses with a surplus for Reserves. However, based upon a recent audit, the board desires to build an even higher reserve and proposes to raise monthly fees by 10%. Currently, a studio unit pays $60 less per month than a 2 bedroom. The increase results in an additional $32 per month for a studio but only $28 increase for a 2 bedroom. This would shrink the difference between studio and 2 bedroom to only $56 per month. I was wondering if there was a way to verify the calculation method used because I find it extremely interesting that all of the board members own 2 bedroom units, which are the units facing the smallest monthly fee increase.
Mister Condo replies:
A.A., the answer lies in your condominium’s governance documents. The typical common fee is calculated using the percentage of unit ownership formula which takes into consideration 100% of the expenses and then allocates those expense according to the formula. The formula is most certainly outlined in your documents and usually has a decimal number like “.0215” to describe the cost assigned to any particular unit. If common fees are increased, to build a Reserve or for any other reason, they should be done so in accordance with the percentage of unit ownership formula, unless the condo documents specifically state otherwise. I cannot think of any reason that the fees would not go up unilaterally under the circumstances that you have described. I would ask you to review the Minutes from the meeting where the fees were raised and see if there was an errant calculation. It should be as simple as pointing out the mistake and waiting for the Board to correct it. Good luck!