So why is it that in some condos and HOAs the bigger the unit or the bigger the home does not necessarily mean the bigger the monthly assessment payment?
For condominiums built before 1992, the developer was able to create a set of documents where anything goes when it comes to what a particular unit will pay each month toward the condominium assessment. For example, the documents can say:
- All units pay equally regardless of size;
- The larger units pay more – but not based upon any specific criteria;
- The larger units pay more based upon a break down by square footage.
- Some units will simply pay more than others regardless of size, and some units of the same size will simply pay more than others the same size.
In 1992 however The Florida Legislature passed a law that said from now on when a developer builds a condominium, everyone’s monthly assessment will be either:
- Everyone paying the same amount; or
- Everyone’s payment will be specifically based upon the square footage of the unit.
In other words, no more making some units pay more in assessments than units that are the exact same size.
For HOAs, the statute says:
720.308 Assessments and charges.—
(1) ASSESSMENTS.—For any community created after October 1, 1995, the governing documents must describe the manner in which expenses are shared and specify the member’s proportional share thereof.
(a) Assessments levied pursuant to the annual budget or special assessment must be in the member’s proportional share of expenses as described in the governing document, which share may be different among classes of parcels based upon the state of development thereof, levels of services received by the applicable members, or other relevant factors.
Interestingly enough, even though the HOA statute would allow the association to charge some owners more than others (bigger homes and lots more than smaller homes or lots where the association provides more services to the larger lot) I don’t believe I’m aware of any HOA where that’s the case. In an HOA, everyone pays the same no matter how big or small your lot or home is. (If yours is different, please chime in)
Keep in mind, these payment obligations are not simply in regard to your monthly assessments, but are also used to determine the amount of your special assessments if any.
It’s also interesting to hear some of the arguments that I have heard over the years as to why it’s unfair to charge me the same as everyone else. For example:
- I live on the first floor, why should I have to contribute to the cost of the elevator or to repair it?
- I don’t drive a car. Why should I have to pay to repair the parking lot?
Needless to say, these arguments are losers. It’s one for all, all for one.
However, there is one expanse that associations must stop and think about in their budgets because the allocation of that expense can be tricky. To learn about this however, you will have to read next week’s blog.