Re: homeowners assoc. dues
From: Jim Snyder-Grant (
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001 06:10:02 -0600 (MDT)
(Amy wrote from Pathways about a few HOA fee questions, mostly around the
balnce between individually charging or sharing costs among everyone)

At New View (Acton MA) we have 'hybrid' calculated dues.

Each household gets possibly unique dues, because part of our formula relies
on 'livable square footage', which varies from house to house, and another
part relies on a  simplified calculation of surface area. (what's the
surface area of the smallest rectangular box that could cover your house).
The part of the fees that is distributed equally per household  is 60%.

The exact formula is in the archives. Apologies for not digging it out right

We recalc once  a year at most. Since this is the same formula that we use
for 'beneficial interest', and requires changing our condo docs (= legal
fees) we minimize changes.  I belive we have changed it twice in two years,
once after construction to reflect the houses people actually built, and
once to reflect an addition (and to correct a math error).

The stuff that is distributed in proportion to livable square footage is
stuff that we figured, over time, would get more wear and tear the more
people used it. livable square footage is supposed to be a proxy for how
many people will be living in a house, averaged over time. So, common house
maintenence is in the square-footage bucket. Stuff that does not cost more
if there more people is divided equally - For example, insurance & snow
removal is in the per household bucket. Finally, the replacement reserves,
which are mostly meant for replacing roofs & walls, are divided up in
proportion to a rough surface area calculation.

Also, I should mention that we DON'T re-do the formula each year based on an
anticipated budget or actual expenses. The split was calculated before we
moved in looking at a rough budget. Most people here do NOT perceive their
condo fees as split in these ways. Now it's just seen that larger houses
'pay a bit more'. We have not heard complaints form the larger (or smaller)
households about this.

Remaining stuff that is on an individual fee basis:
-shared DSL line (is proposed to be shared by all once we get 90%+
participation. Currently is $10/month).
-Our complex & ever-changing CH cleaning & garbage collection scheme

A few times we have heard concerns of the form "I don't use X, why should I
pay for it". We have been able to achieve consensus and move on, however,
mostly based on the idea that nothing is used by everybody, but the overall
collection of stuff we have benefits everyone. Also, everyone understands
the difficulty of getting another volunteer to do another individual payment

Jim Snyder-Grant
jimsg [at]
18 Half Moon Hill
Acton MA 01720
New View Cohousing
----- Original Message -----
From: Peteramy8 [at]
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2001 10:27 PM
Subject: [C-L]_homeowners assoc. dues

Hi. I'm writing from Pathways Cohousing in Northampton, Ma. We've all been
moved in for a little over a year and are considering changing the structure
of our dues. Right now for reasons that no longer exist, they are based
solely on # of bedrooms. I've read the archives and am very interested in
dues that are a hybrid of expenses, some divided equally, some alloted by
square footage, etc. I have a couple of questions for those of you who do
this -
      1)Does each individual household have it's own unique fee, or are
there catagories?
      2)When changes occur in a household, such as an addition or a birth,
do changes in the fee occur right away or at the beginning of the next
      3) We're thinking that the costs shared equally will be for things
that are available to everyone, even though some households may use things
more or less that others. Have any of you ever had squabbling about this?
ie:" I never use the guest rooms in the common house, why should I pay for
their upkeep" (Not that we anticipate someone will say that but we were just

I appreciate your time and thought, Amy

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