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Your Condo Association: The Nuts and Bolts

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By : Andy Asbury    99 or more times read
Every condo owner makes a monthly payment to a condo homeowners association. The amount of the payment varies widely, depending on your building and the amenities it provides. It may even depend on the makeup of the association itself. The following is a primer on some of the main elements of condo homeowner associations.

Board of directors
Depending on the size of the condo building in which you live, every resident may have a seat on the board. Usually, though, there are too many people for that, so residents take a vote and elect board members – not wholly unlike a political election. Boards usually meet once a month, or, in some cases, once a quarter, and discuss and make decisions on issues pertinent to the building. They set the fees you’ll pay, decide what they’ll cover, and create association bylaws by which all residents must abide. Don’t agree with something the board does? Attend meetings or run for a seat to make sure your voice is heard.

Monthly fees
The check you write to your association every month is used in a variety of ways. It covers exterior and some interior maintenance – cutting the grass, removing the snow and keeping the hallways clean, for instance – and for amenities ranging from pools to fitness rooms. Most association fees also cover sewer, trash and water. The association also will carry insurance for the exterior of the unit, and some parts of the interior. Part of your monthly association fee also should be placed into a reserve account to pay for unexpected or large, non-recurring expenses.

Associations are responsible for coming up with regulations by which all building residents must abide. The regulations cover things ranging from how large pets can be to actions that will be taken against those condo owners delinquent on their association payments. Associations also have the power to levy fines or other penalties against tenants who don’t abide by the regulations.

It’s important to keep in mind that the rules and regulations that associations make vary depending on the association. While some can be a little lax in the rules they make – or on the enforcement of them – some associations work hard to ensure all rules are followed to the letter. It’s your responsibility to be comfortable with the association before you move in. If you break a rule or find something that’s not to your liking, simply saying “I didn’t know” probably won’t get you very far. Please don’t take this to mean that condo associations are in any way bad. Indeed, the opposite is true and the majority of condo owners never have a problem with their association.
Andy Asbury, founder of helps buyers sort through all of the Minneapolis condos for sale and make sense of the ever changing Minneapolis condo market.

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