H.L. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Hello! I am looking to buy a condo. Upon the inspection, the roof needs to get redone very soon. I am concerned that the condo association will increase condo fees or require its residents to pay for the new roof or that they will not fix it and it will damage the inside of my condo if it leaks.
What would you recommend? The condo is in almost perfect condition besides the roof.
Mister Condo replies:
H.L., for the most part, the roof is the responsibility of the association. Leaks need to be repaired by the association although you had best have homeowner’s insurance for any possible damage to the unit’s interior caused by a possible leak. You would do well to ask when the last roof was installed and when the association plans on replacing the current roof. If the association has done a Reserve Study, they know exactly when this will be done and how much it will cost. If they have been saving properly for their Reserve Fund, the monies will come from that account to pay for the roof. If not, there will either be a Special Assessment or a loan needed to pay for the roof. The Special Assessment will hit you all at once (could be quite a bit depending on the size and type of the roof – $5,000 or more is not uncommon) or you could see your common fees raised to cover the debt service on the loan. If I were buying this condo I would want an answer to these questions before I purchased. Then, even if I knew I might get hit with a Special Assessment, if I truly liked the condo, I would buy it knowing full well that the purchase price was not the only expense I would likely have in the first few years of ownership. Good luck!