Let's Talk Association Dues in a Condo Complex

As a condo owner, you may be required to pay homeowner association dues to the condo association or management company that manages the condo association.

When Are They Due, How Paid and What They Cover?

When you are looking to purchase a condo, you will want to be aware of what those fees are, how often they are expected to be paid, and what they cover.  Also, you will want to know how you can pay them.  They are not included in your mortgage payment.  They are a separate payment made to the association.

How Do I Find Out What They Are?

If the condo is for sale through a real estate broker, that information should be available on the listing information.  You should always verify that fee to be sure that it's correct.  This fee is in addition to your mortgage payment, insurance payment and tax payment.  It could also be increased in the future if the association votes to increase it for a number of reasons.  You will want to be sure that you can afford your condo costs including this additional association fee.  It is common to see the fees due monthly if more items are covered by the association.  I have also seen them quarterly or yearly, but they likely will only cover minor items.  A good suggestion is to get involved at your association meetings to give your input and know what is going on.  At closing, the title company will request a status letter (normally paid by the seller) from the association verifying the fee.  If you wait until closing to verify it, and it's incorrect, it's probably too late.

Renting a Condo

As a renter of a condo unit, normally the association fee is paid by the condo owner/landlord.  

What Happens if the Association Dues Don't Get Paid?

If the association fee does not get paid, a lien can be placed on the condo from the association.  When buying a condo, this is a good reason to utilize the services of a title company to find this information out before you close.  They will check any liens attached to the property as well as make sure that any unpaid dues get paid, if that is what you agree upon in the purchase.

How Does the Association Know I'm the New Owner?

When you close as a buyer, the condo association will be informed of the new buyer information from the title company and hopefully forward a welcome packet with instructions as to how to make your future dues payments.  If you do not receive this, you will want to contact them.

New Construction Condos

In new construction condos, the association may not be developed yet.  Hence, there will be no association fees initially.  You may not have to pay any association dues until one is established.  Just be prepared to budget for them in the future.  Get involved at the association meetings to give your input.

What are the Association Dues Used For?

All of this should be included in the large bylaw packet that you should be reviewing when your purchase your condo.  Most common items are; escrow funds for insurance, maintenance upkeep such as lawn service, sprinklers, maintenance of common areas, clubhouse, swimming pools and utilities such as water.  You can always contact the association for specific items.  You will want to verify if there is something specific you are concerned about.  Once you buy your condo, you are acknowledging that you are aware of these dues and what they cover.