A.P. from Queens County, New York writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Being a condo owner, do I have the right to ask how they did with all bills for common charges? I want to know how much money they charge to individual owners for common charges for HOA fee. I want to find this out because I believe I’m being overcharged for my common charges. Also, when I signed paperwork when I got house, I never sign any paper for water surcharges but they are also charging me for extra person for water charges ($25 per person)!
Mister Condo replies:
A.P., I am sorry that you feel you are being overcharged by your association. It is possible, but not terribly common, for unit owners to be overcharged for their common fees because the formula for determining fees is often very well established. Water usage surcharges are likely specific to individual units and you should review your governance documents to determine if you are being correctly charged $25 per month for your unit’s personal water usage. As for taking a look at bills and other association records, you do have a right to inspect any and all association documents but the management company or association is also free to charge you a fee to do so. Rather than waste your time and effort there, why not just take a look at the association’s budget? You’ll see what they plan on spending in any given year and you’ll see the common fees charged to offset those expenses. You can easily determine you share of the fees. My guess is you’ll see that you are only paying your fair share. Good luck!