J.G. from Windham County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are a condo association in Connecticut with 92 free standing individual units; no multi-unit buildings. Our declaration includes an A-2 Schedule which lists the square footage of the units and this area determines the Unit owner condo fee. To date this schedule has been updated by Declarant as he added new units. Now, Elected Board of Directors has full authority for our association and no new units are being added. We have owners making requests to add sunrooms to their units which will become living space that according to our Declaration should be used to determine Owner’s Condo fee. It is not stated so in the Declaration, but does the Association have a legal authority to change/increase fee basis for Unit’s added sunroom without having to get unanimous vote of all other Unit Owner?
Mister Condo replies:
J.G., congratulations on the completion of the development phase of your condo association. Developer transition can be tricky at best, tragic at worst. It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on how to interpret your governing documents but this is an item worthy of spending some legal fees with your association’s attorney because a misstep here could be very expensive in both the short and long term. Technically, the percentage of unit ownership formula, the A-2 Schedule you have described, sets the unit ownership for all time. Changing it after the developer transition period will very likely require a vote from the membership following your governing documents requirements, which may well be a unanimous vote. A savvy unit owner who has just increased his livable space would likely vote “no” because voting “yes” will increase the fees on that unit forever. On the other hand, it isn’t very fair that the addition of the sunroom should go without the same increase in common fees that came for the owners who may have done the same addition before the developer transition. You can see the challenge here. Do yourself a favor and get a legal opinion before proceeding. You want to make sure you handle this tricky proposition properly. All the best!