D.W. from New London County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
As I understand it, my condo common fees are used, in part, for taking care of lots of things that regular homeowners get taken care of by their local municipality. I’m talking about repair and maintenance of the roads, including snow removal and items like trash removal and street lights within the condo. Yet, I still get taxed the same as any other homeowner in my town. That doesn’t seem fair to me. It’s like I am being taxed twice. Is there a way my condo can get the town to take care of these items like they do for other residents?
Mister Condo replies:
D.W., I feel your pain. Nobody likes paying for services they aren’t receiving. However, most municipalities have ordinances that deal specifically with condominiums and the services their residents are entitled to under law. In most cities and towns in Connecticut, the condo association is responsible for many services that other residents receive from the municipality. There are a lot of factors that go into how these rules came into place but it usually dates back to when the condominium was first built. An agreement was made between the developer and the municipality that the area within the condominium complex would be private roads. Since the municipality does not own the roads, it cannot be expected to provide service. These details should be included in your condominium documents you received when you purchased your unit.
Some condominium associations have challenged these ordinances and a few have even had positive outcomes. They haven’t had their tax rates changed but they have had their local municipality provide some service like trash removal. If you feel there is enough interest in your community, you could try organizing a group of condominium owners to address your local government. All of the positive outcomes I am aware of began with a conversation between condo residents and their local leaders. Good luck!