In the course of running a Condominium Association, various charges may be provided by the Condominium Documents to be assessed against or posted to the accounts of co-owners who are either delinquent or in violation of other provisions of the Condominium Documents. These charges are variously referred to as interest, late, fees, fines and attorney’s fees. Many times we find that due to procedural errors, or because the lack of understanding of the uniqueness of each type of charge, the charges become subject to legal objection as being excessive, constitutionally invalid, unreasonable or in violation of statute. For these reasons, it is important that Associations understand the nature of each of these charges, the legal requirements for validity, and the proper procedures to follow in order for these charges to be enforceable.
There are two main enforcement categories facing all Associations from which these charges flow. The first is in the area of collection of delinquent assessments. The second is in the area of enforcement of behavioral-based restrictions contained in the Condominium Documents, including the Bylaws and Rules and Regulations. Common to both areas are attorney’s fees and, potentially, fines. Continue reading →
Every person desires to have a safe and secure place to call home regardless of whether you live in an attached condominium, site condominium or subdivision. Choosing a home in a low crime area helps to ease worries of safety and security; however, crime occurs in all neighborhoods. High quality video security systems are readily available and may help to give owners an added sense of safety and security. Modern systems even enable an owner to monitor their property remotely in real-time from a smart phone.
Competing with this concept of security is a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Community associations that are dealing with issues related to surveillance and security systems must consider what rights and obligations they have under relevant laws, the association’s governing documents, the general safety and security of the community, individual owner’s safety, security and privacy interests, and the potential that owners may think the association is taking on the responsibility of maintaining community security if the association decides to install its own systems. Continue reading →
All condominiums are created by statute and, depending upon the jurisdiction, by the recording of a master deed or declaration of covenants. The primary (if not the exclusive) source of revenue for maintenance or administration of condominiums is the assessments paid by the co-owners of the condominium property. In this regard, every jurisdiction in the country has adopted laws that give the condominium’s governing body a lien against any unit that fails to timely pay assessments.
When the condominium concept first began, it was virtually unheard of that real property would lose value over time. Because of this, the “priority” given to condominium assessment liens was not necessarily the hot topic of debate it has become today – regardless of whether the mortgage holder or the condominium association had seniority, these secured parties could generally rest assured that no matter which party initiated the foreclosure process, there was a reasonably-good chance that there would be sufficient equity in the property to cover both secured interests. This meant that the junior lien holder could safely protect its interest by paying off the senior lien and then proceed with its own foreclosure, knowing that it was likely to recover most or all of its money in the process. Continue reading →