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Condos: How To Deal With A Bad Homeowners Association



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By : Andy Asbury    99 or more times read
The vast majority of people who live in condominiums never have a problem with their homeowners association. Each month, they write a check to the association, and they receive the variety of services covered by their association dues. There are steps that potential condo owners can take to ensure they do not buy a unit in a building that has a bad homeowners association, as well as steps they can take if they discover after the fact that their association leaves something to be desired.


Chat with potential neighbors

When you are in the process of deciding which condo building you want to live in, it is likely your realtor can get you a list of the people who serve on the board of directors of the condo homeowners association. Talk to people who live in the building but do not serve on the board. Ask them if they have ever had any problems with the association, or know anyone who has.


Check the financials

In Minnesota and many other states, sellers are required to provide a complete set of the current financial statements of the association and other association documents. After coming to terms with a seller, you will have a certain period of time to look them over. Do it carefully. Does the association have sufficient reserve funds? That may prevent you from a big assessment if something should go wrong with the roof, for example. How often does the association raise the monthly fee? If the fee seems to go up by a large amount each year, it may be a sign that your association routinely spends more than it takes in.


Make your voice heard

If you have a problem with the association, go to its meetings and air your concerns. Talk to your neighbors and see if they have similar concerns. There is strength in numbers. You also should talk directly to individual members of the association board of directors. Whether you are talking to an individual or to the board as a whole, remember to be respectful.


Serve on the board

If you truly want a voice in the operation of your association, run for a spot on the board. It is the best way to ensure your opinions are known, but serving on the board also gives more weight and validity to your complaints. It is often easy to criticize a condo homeowners association from the outside, but it is something altogether different to actually serve on it. By doing so, you can help shape the association and change it from the inside out.


Check the documents

You may not like what your association does, but whatever it is doing may be perfectly in line with the association bylaws. As a buyer, it is your responsibility to know the rules that govern your association. But if your association is doing something it should not, or that breaks its own rules, you have every right to pursue a remedy.
Andy Asbury is a REALTOR® for The Realty House in Downtown Minneapolis and specializes in Minneapolis condos and lofts. Andy's featured Minneapolis condominiums can be found at www.MinnesotaLoftsandCondos.com 24 hours a day!

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