Fired Up Over Condo Smoke Alarm Inspection Fee

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N.O. from Litchfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My condo association forced a smoke alarm inspection on until owners last spring. Now I have a bill to pay a Fire Marshall $25 for the inspection regardless of outcome (which I passed). Is this legal for them to bill me for this?

Mister Condo replies:

N.O., there are two different things happening here. The first is the right of the association to require a smoke alarm inspection. Not only can they require this but they may have to have all units inspected in order for the association’s master insurance policy to be in effect. If the local Fire Marshall is the inspector they used and the fee is $25 for the inspection, that fee can be passed on to unit owners. After all, you did receive the services of the inspector. Honestly, $25 is a small price for such peace of mind. You might suggest to the Board that they incorporate an annual inspection of smoke alarms into the annual budget (which may increase common fees a few dollars each month) but either way, you will end up paying for the service, N.O.. All the best!

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