L.C. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Mister Condo replies:
L.C., I have to assume that your question has been brought on by some sort of financial hardship. If so, I am sorry for your problems. As you know, I am not an attorney so please accept this advice as friendly. You very likely need some legal advice for this issue so I encourage you to contact an attorney to assist you properly.
Not paying the association your common fees is certainly a problem for both you and your association. However, there is a rather lengthy process involved before non-payment of common fees leads to the association preventing you from accessing your condominium. In Connecticut, the association can prohibit delinquent unit owners from use of some of the common areas and amenities until such time as their dues are paid. They cannot restrict access to the unit nor can they turn off utilities, even if those utilities are paid for by the association. For instance, you may be forbidden from using the community pool and clubhouse but you shouldn’t have your water turned off if the water is the association’s responsibility. You can still park in your assigned parking space but may be denied use of visitor parking. If you have a garage you cannot be denied use of the garage.
Of course, if you have become seriously delinquent and the association has taken foreclosure action against you then the situation may be a bit different. If the association is successful in their foreclosure action against a delinquent unit owner, the next step is eviction of the unit owner, which is usually handled by the local sheriff. After a foreclosure and eviction it is clearly not your unit and you have no right to go back.
If you are being denied access to your unit by your association and they have not taken the correct actions to do so, you would have a case to pursue your rights to access to your unit. I would strongly recommend that you contact an attorney and bring action against the association if they have violated your rights. Of course, if you can, simply paying your delinquency is the right thing to do. All of your fellow unit owners were counting on you to do so when they all made their payments to the common fund. In a non-profit organization like a community association, every penny counts when paying for goods and services that every resident consumes. Paying your common fees is simply paying your fair share, as you agreed to do when you purchased your unit. All the best!