Q: How should the board member interviewing new residents of our condominium association handle knowing that there will be a significant increase in monthly maintenance fees due to the increase in premium? ‘assurance ? It is a sensitive subject for sellers to discuss with buyers, but we want to be transparent as an association with our new neighbors. —Maureen
A: Growing costs, underfunded reserves, and required maintenance are big issues right now for condominium associations that will force residents to pay more each month.
These increases will happen in most associations, and anyone who buys or lives in condominiums should be aware of this issue.
Dues, taxes, and insurance almost always increase every year, and although maintenance dues may stay the same for a while, everyone’s dues will eventually increase.
The seller should disclose pending increases and special ratings as part of the selling process, but many are unaware of the inner workings of their community and may not be aware of the increase.
The board should distinguish between disclosing important information to potential new owners without exaggerating and interfering in the transaction.
Make sure this information is shared with your residents and only share the same information with applicants.
Post information in the lobby, send emails to residents, and generally let everyone know about these upcoming expenses. People reluctantly accept the increased costs if they understand the reason.
After getting approval from your association’s lawyer, you can include the upcoming budget and expected expenses in the application process.
If the requester asks about possible increases, be honest, but don’t guess information you are unsure of.
There is nothing wrong with telling someone that dues are going to go up; you do not know yet how much because you are waiting for the insurance quote.
Condominium expenses like taxes and insurance almost always go up every year, and while maintenance costs may stay the same for a while, everyone’s dues will eventually go up.
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, commercial litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is chair of the real estate section of the Broward County Bar Association and co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He consults frequently on general Florida real estate issues and trends with various companies across the country. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.