J.W. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a 2-unit condo. 19 years ago, the two condos were bought at same time. Condo documents stated a set Trustee Account. We went 50/50 on all expenses. Recently, we had a disagreement not related to condo. Other unit owner hired a lawyer for a Trustee Meeting, our first Trustee’s Meeting ever. I hired a lawyer to represent me after the money we spend on lawyers could have been for condos maintenance. Can they force condo fee after all these years?
Mister Condo replies:
J.W., please understand that I am not an attorney nor am I particularly verse in Massachusetts condo law, so please accept my advice as friendly and not legal. Since you have already hired an attorney to represent you, I am guessing you already have a legal opinion from the attorney. In my experience, all condo documents spell out items like common fees and how expenses are to be paid. In your state, the directors of the association are called trustees. In your two-unit condo, each owner is a Trustee and must abide by the condo documents. Regardless of the fact that you didn’t do it right for 19 years, there is no reason to think you are not bound by the legal agreement which accompanied the purchase of your condo 19 years ago. The bottom line is that if common fees are the called for method of collecting the monies needed for the common expenses, then you should pay your common fees. Further, a portion of those fees should have been collected and set aside for future common area repairs so that large special assessments are not necessary when expensive items, like a roof for instance, have to be replaced. If you are unclear as to how your governance documents work, it might be worth your while to spend some time reviewing them and even hire a qualified attorney to provide guidance on any areas where you are unclear. Good luck!