The Merrimack Valley is home to hundreds of condominium communities. A condominium is defined as a multiple-unit complex where the units are individually owned with each owner receiving a recordable deed to the individual unit purchased, including the right to sell or mortgage the unit, etc. The unit owners share in joint ownership any common grounds, passageways, etc. and the maintenance of such areas.
Its important to remember that condominiums come in different styles like; Townhomes, Rowhouse, Brownstone, Garden Style, or Duplex. Typically condominiums are governed by a board of trustees, elected by the owners, to maintain the fiscal and physical well being of the association. Associations will typically employee the use of a Management Company to oversee the day-to-day operations, screen vendors, and respond to resident issues and requests for service. Small condo associations with smaller budgets and needs will sometimes handle this on their own; this is called “self-managed”.
Either way, there is usually a “condo fee” due each month that covers the maintenance, up-keep, and funds a reserve account for any unforeseen catastrophes. The condo fee will depend on the features of the complex and the amenities provided. Some condo fees, typically in garden style units (apartment style) will cover items such as water, heat and hot water since these are being produced from a common system. A Townhome, Brownstone or Duplex style typically have their own independent systems for these needs therefore the condo fee’s do not include these services.
Think you can stop paying your condo fee? Think again. Your association, in Massachusetts, has the authority to foreclose on you for unpaid dues. They can do this because if you don’t pay your condo dues the other owners in the association suffer by having to pickup the shortfalls. The maintenance and financial well being of the complex are to be maintained above all else, therefore your condo fees must be paid.
Ron Carpenito– Real Estate Consultant / Owner
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