Assessments – are you paying too much?

We all know about a monthly maintenance fee due from each of us.  In 2014 and 2015 we learned about paying a “Special Assessment” balked at by many.  But were you really balking about what you were paying, or just what you were told?

Some of us should be thankful for the discount given to them, while others happy they didn’t pay a lot more than they did.  And others, well, not so fortunate.  Paying extra with each check, every month, year after year.  Due to the long standing method of non-disclosure of financials and budgets at the annual meetings, we are told what the new asscessment is, when the new coupon book arrives.  Have you ever wondered, “How do they determine the amount?”, and, “Who decides what the fee should be?”.

Our Board has a long standing system in place, designed to use “smoke-and-mirrors” to keep our members in the dark as to what we are paying for, and what amount each member is responsible to pay.  Starting back in the year 1999, the current system of controls had already been set in motion by the management.  Clouded issues.  Improper procedures.  Ignoring legal requirements.  Cohorts in place to keep it all seeming legit and bully those questioning.

Each and every unit owner has a percentage interest in the entire Association.  In case you don’t remember what this is, it’s the determining factor that “clearly” states what part of the annual budget you’re responsible to pay.  And you are not responsible to pay one cent more or less.  This information is in the Master Deed and on your recorded property deed, at the County.  For those who may be foggy on the simple math, or just don’t remember what percentage interest applies to them, here’s an example;

  • The Apartment style units have a 0.261% interest in the common areas
  • The Townhouses (T1-T12), along Central Blvd, Coventry Ct, Foxwood Ct and Chatham Ct, have a 0.325% interest in the common areas
  • The Townhouses (Twin Lake Villas) have a 0.261% interest in the common areas (just like the apartment style units)
    • Now if we use the 2015 budget, approved only by the Board at the July 15, 2015 meeting, of $988,540 (just for reference, since we haven’t been supplied with one)
    • Apartments would be billed 0.261% x 988,540 = 2,579.85 / year;  that’s $214.99 / month
    • Townhouses (Twin Lake Villas) have the same 0.261% so would also pay $2,579.85 / year and $214.99 / month
    • The Townhouses (T1-T12) would be billed  0.325% x 988,540 = 3,212.46 / year and $267.71 / month

Once you have reviewed how much you should probably be paying, you can start to wonder, “What else am I paying, that is so wrong?”.  Well, as we have all suffered with, in the past two years, it’s “Special Assessments“.

Special Assessments are an extension of fees for the common areas.  So exactly the same as the monthly fees we are presented with and are to be used for the administration of our Association.  So, here’s an example of how that breaks down;

  • Using a reference amount of $87,840 for the maximum amount that could be collected, from the special assessment.
  • $240 / unit x 366 units = $87,840.  This ofcourse can’t account for a budget that was shoddy at best.
    • So here’s the breakdown per unit
      • Apartments units billed at 0.261% x $87,840 = $229.26
      • Townhouses (Twin Lake Villas) units billed at 0.261% x $87,840 =  $229.26
      • Townhouses (T1-T12) units are 0.325% x $87,840 = $285.48

The next article will show how, in 2015 alone, the Association lost over $67,000.  Without spending a penny.

This same mis-guided or uneducated approach seems to be how the management, of our Association, is handled by the Board.  Our Association is drained of funds, year after year,  and everyone suffers the loss of value and equity in our homes.  With the only road left, leading to bankruptcy.

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