C.I. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can my Association assess units for expenses unrelated to the Association? Specifically, my condo is situated on a lake. The condo does not own the lake. The lake is not within the boundaries of the condo association. During the past few years, other lakefront owners have formed a lake association to help organize a program to control lake weed growth. This lake association has no jurisdiction or enforcement powers over any of the property owners on the lake including my condo. Recently, my condo’s Board has decided to assess our units for a contribution to the Lake Association to demonstrate being good neighbors. Can the Board do this? I thought that all condo assessments had to be directly related to the expenses of the condo? Thanks for you help.
Mister Condo replies:
C.I., that is an interesting question. The newly formed lake association would appear to have voluntary membership, meaning there is no requirement to be a member of the lake association to have use of the lake. It would follow that your condominium association is under no “requirement” to join the association. However, the Board is the governing body of your association that is tasked with making decisions on behalf of the association and they have decided to join the lake association to be good neighbors. You didn’t mention the cost to join the lake association so I am having a hard time determining if this decision to join and pay dues to the lake association is truly creating a hardship for unit owners. I have seen lake association dues as little as $20 per year and I have heard of dues as high as $200 per year. Neither of those amounts would concern me with regards to the potential financial impact on the association. If the dues are very high (say more than $1,000.00 per year or such), then I guess I might share your concern. Either way, the Board is empowered to make decisions such as joining the lakes association to be a good neighbor. If you and a majority of your fellow unit owners think the Board is not handling the business of the association in good manner, I would encourage you to replace them at your next election. All the best!