K.G. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Hello! 2 years ago new roofs were installed on our units and we were naturally charged an assessment. However, the management company gave us less than 10 days notice of the due date of the first payment demanding it be paid at the same time as the regular fee. Some unit owners including myself were short since mortgage payments were due on that date (the first) as well. Now the association is trying to slam us with excessive late fees. What is CT state law regarding notice for fee increases/additional assessment charges? I would think it should be at least 30 days. Thank you.
Mister Condo replies:
K.G., I am sorry to learn that you and your fellow unit owners were not given more time to make good on your special assessment. From what I understand, there is not a legal requirement as to how many days’ notice must be given when a special assessment is levied. The addition of late fees on top of the short notice is salt in the wounds and really poor policy on the part of the Board. Levying special assessments for something as common as roof replacement concerns me on a far greater level. If your association isn’t building adequate reserves for common elements in your condo association, you might want to ask the Board what the long term plan is for other major expense common elements, like siding and parking lots and sidewalks. If the Board needs to levy special assessments every time maintenance needs to occur, you will likely see a repeat of what had just happened. A better strategy would be to raise common fees and build a reserve fund to handle these know, upcoming expenses. Special assessments should only be used for major, unforeseeable expenses. That avoids this whole nastiness of late fees on top of special assessments, which, technically, the association is entitled to collect. However, if the Board isn’t properly representing the best interests of the unit owners, consider nominating candidates to the Board who will do a better job of managing the common elements and create a fiscal strategy that addresses these financial shortcomings. We all know we need to pay to keep our condos in top shape. We shouldn’t have to be hit with surprise assessments and late fees to boot.