D.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My question is pretty clean cut, but first let me say I am trying to fix my obligation. So my question is this. I have condo fee $183 each month, I have not paid in awhile, lets say $8000 worth (includes $25 late fee monthly) however, I am paying my own insurance for home for mortgage purposes due to my policy has not been renewed with condo association. My question is this, if my home is not covered under the insurance policy that involves the other 7 units, is it right to still charge me $183 a month from past fees owed and the fee included condo insurance? I just wanted to make sure before I pay this debt that I am being charged correctly.
Mister Condo replies:
D.B., I am sorry you find yourself in this unfortunate situation. Common fees are the lifeblood of the association and cannot be withheld by individual unit owners, for any reason, without serious consequences. The association has the upper hand here and can take legal action against you to collect the unpaid fees. These collection actions include filing suit against you where the courts could award them the right to seek relief through your checking and savings accounts, wage garnishment, and even foreclosure on your unit. Of course, you can seek your own legal remedy, including bankruptcy to protect yourself but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
The issue of insurance is entirely separate and may require you take a separate action. If your condominium association is not providing insurance as required by your condo by-laws and/or state law, you may have an action against them. Your best advice is to speak with an attorney to determine if that is the case. Keep in mind that the association is not bound to provide insurance for the satisfaction of the mortgage company. It is possible that your mortgage company is requiring an amount of insurance above what the association has deemed appropriate. I have seen this most commonly in flood insurance arrangements. If that is the case, you may need to work closely with your mortgage company to make sure you are getting credit for the insurance already in place with the association. You may only need to purchase a small amount of additional insurance to cover the gap.
I hope you are able to work out your deficiency in common fees with your association in short order. Your delinquency could be causing a great deal of financial stress in a small association like yours. I wish you all the best in getting your finances with the association back in order.