R.B. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
My husband and I bought our condo when it was brand new almost 5 years ago. We have loved living here as the common grounds include a pool, tennis courts, and walking paths. Last year, Phase II was developed and the new units offered for sale. Apparently, the developer who was doing the construction has gone out of business and now ALL unit owners are being assessed $5,000.00 to create a legal fund so the association can hire an attorney and sue the developer for the work that hasn’t been completed. I understand that the work needs to be completed but why am I paying for Phase II’s legal expenses when I live in Phase I which is completely built and in great shape?
Mister Condo replies:
R.B., I am so sorry this has happened to you and your community. Construction defect lawsuits are not uncommon in new condominium communities. It is not uncommon for existing unit owners to help shoulder the initial financial burden. It may also be possible to obtain special financing arrangements through a lender to pay for the lawsuit. I hope your Board investigated all its options before deciding on a special assessment. I know of one list of specialized lenders that can be found at the CAI-CT website at http://www.caict.org/?page=Directory#Banking/Financial Services. You can direct your Board to this list if necessary.
Fortunately, there can be tremendous upside to you and your community down the road if the suit settles in favor of your association. Depending on how the settlement is structured you may even be entitled to a refund of your assessment. It is important to pay close attention to what is going on when a construction defect lawsuit hits your community. Your Board should keep all unit owners informed of the suit’s progress through the condo newsletter or regular mailings. It can take a while to settle a construction defect lawsuit so hang in there, R.B..