Assessing the Situation
Living in a condo in downtown Chicago is a great experience. If you already own one, congratulations — you made a great decision that not only helped build your credit as well as equity in your home, but you’re also now right in the heart of one of the best cities in the world! (And if you’re looking to buy a condo, you won’t get a better experience than right here.)
During your research, you probably came across something called an assessment. Similar to the homeowners association fees that single-family homeowners pay, condo residents have to pay association fees, called assessments, that go toward maintaining common areas, keeping up the building’s exterior, and paying for resident services. Assessments are typically paid monthly or annually, depending on your association.
But What About a Special Assessment?
What are these fees, and when are they required? A condo association special assessment is the result of a situation in which the association needs funds beyond standard dues. Maybe the current condo reserve isn’t sufficient to cover a much-needed repair, like roof damage, a long overdue parking lot repavement, or damage to the structure or property from a natural disaster. Condo association special assessments also arise when there are shortfalls in the association’s budget.
By buying a condo and paying your association dues, you’ve agreed to be part of the community and accept its rules and regulations. Unfortunately, condo association special assessments are part of this resident–association relationship. Ideally, they wouldn’t happen at all. But when they do, it’s important to keep in mind that it wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t important.
You’re well within your rights to be curious, though. Again, a special assessment could be required for extraordinary circumstances, but they can also arise if the association isn’t managed properly. If you have concerns, have a conversation with a board member or request information, which should be readily available to you.
The Limits on Special Assessments
Depending on your condo association’s governing documents, the frequency and amount of a special assessment may be limited. While the assessment will be explained to you, should one be required, you can always contact your association to learn more about it.
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