Re: Common cost surcharges
From: Katie Henry (katie-henryatt.net)
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 2008 08:25:59 -0700 (PDT)
> the community imposes one-time per square foot surcharges on improvements and additions to existing homes.

Gosh, I've never heard of anything like that, but I have no experience with condominium associations that include single-family houses or townhouses.

It seems like a bad idea for a number of reasons:

1. The people who improve their homes are subsidizing the people who aren't. That doesn't seem fair.

2. Given #1, the surcharge would motivate people to conceal the work or understate the scope. (Or at least it would for me.)

3. Most importantly, it is an unpredictable source of revenue, so you can't budget for it. What will happen if the time comes for a capital improvement and you don't have enough money on hand? Will you have a special assessment of all units based on square footage? That would be poor planning, but at least it would be fair. Do you have a reserve study? Do you have a feel for your upcoming expenses vs. your current and anticipated income?

At Eastern Village (a condominium in a multi-family building), we fund our reserve fund (and everything else) through our condo fees. No special collections from anyone for anything (except maybe an extra month of condo fees to the reserve fund from the buyer when a unit is sold, but I'm not sure if we do that here).

Katie
Eastern Village
Silver Spring, MD



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