Condo & Townhome Dues Can Differ…Why?

Some easy answers to the above question can include more shared amenities (pool, tennis courts, workout space, party room, etc.), the inclusion of some utilities and/or insurance. These are understandable conditions that will affect dues from one complex to the next.  However, there may be some other considerations at work that are not so obvious.  It seems to me that in newer complexes artificially low initial dues are an obvious aid to getting the units sold in the first place.  On the other hand, it is equally true that recently built developments will have fewer maintenance and upkeep needs, so even if dues are raised from an artificially low level, it is not likely that major changes will happen in the near future.  Beware of older complexes (1960’s and 1970’s built) with unusually low association dues. When you drive through these complexes, pay particular attention to the maintenance of the landscaping and the exteriors of the buildings.  If you see deferred maintenance all around, think “inadequate reserves” and “special assessments” as likely possibilities. Some association boards of directors (bowing to pressure from tight fisted residents) may have maintained lower than necessary monthly dues ignoring the possible need for re-roofing and re-siding or the need for new windows, and deck repairs, and the like, simply to appease neighbors.  The Piper must be paid at some point, so be sure to inquire of the management company about the adequacy of reserves during your statutory 10 day right of rescission.

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