L.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have lived in my condo for 4 years. This past quarter I was late due to hospitalization. Actually, I didn’t realize I was late. I paid the bill as soon as I got the notice. They are demanding I pay the $25.00 late fee. I don’t intend to. What are the consequences?
Mister Condo replies:
L.B., I am sorry for your need for hospitalization and I hope you are doing better now. You wrote to me a while back so I imagine this situation has been cleared up by now and I am guessing that you have learned that not paying a late fee can actually cost you far more than the late fee. As long as the late fee was properly levied, and in your case, it certainly sounds like it was, you must pay it. If you don’t pay it, you may get additional late fees assessed to your late fee and even find your account turned over to a collections agent and have those fees attached to your account as well. A $25 late fee is a pittance compared to the several hundred dollars in collection fees you could face for non-payment. Condo associations require timely payment of common fees and assessments to meet their financial obligations. All unit owners agree to pay these fees on time when they purchase into a condominium community. The association has the legal right and the responsibility to you and all of your fellow owners to collect the fees in a timely fashion. The $25 late fee is just one more tool at their disposal to do so. You may petition the Board and ask for the fee to be returned based on your stellar record of payment up until your unforeseen hospitalization but they are under no obligation to offer you a refund. My advice is to simply pay your late fee and make a point of keeping current on your common fees moving forward. Perhaps you could set up an automatic payment system with your bank to send the fees out on time each month. Better yet, let’s hope you stay healthy and have no further need for hospitalization. All the best!