S.W. from Pennsylvania writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
What is the best way to communicate a plan to announce special assessment project?
Mister Condo replies:
S.W., special assessments are never popular. However, if the condo is going to survive there are times when there simply isn’t any other way to raise the capital to do so. No one likes a surprise, especially when it involves their checkbook so get ahead of the story by explaining the need for the project before getting into the money details. Do you have a newsletter, website, or other communication platform? As soon as possible, get the details out about the benefits to home and unit owners of the project. For instance, if the assessment was for a new roof, you might point out that there has been a need for a new roof for some times and that it has failed on several occasions. The Board is considering option and speaking with several vendors that can provide a brand, new roof that should last for years to come. Of course, a new roof will come with a hefty price tag and the Board is also looking at options for how to pay for the upgrade, including a possible or probable Special Assessment. More details to follow. Next month tell the same story, only this time include the approximate cost and the proposed Special Assessment as it relates to the individual unit owners, meaning detail the likely cost per unit. Also, since most condominium associations require that unit owners vote on the Special Assessment, perhaps mention that there will be an upcoming meeting to present, discuss, and vote on the Special Assessment. If you get ahead of the story and tell it will, people will understand. They will not like it but they may not push back as hard if you show them what’s in it for them rather than just ask them to open their wallets and pay for it. Good luck!