Condominium common expenses, most commonly referred to as maintenance fees, are payments unit owners must make every month to cover a variety of services (and sometimes utilities) provided by the condo corporation, including snow plowing, garbage collection and the upkeep of areas enjoyed by all residents like the lobby or pool.
Each owner’s maintenance fees are calculated based on what’s outlined in the condo declaration. Generally, they are calculated based on individual unit square footage as a percentage of total square footage of all units in the building. So, for example, if the corporation’s common expense budget is $2,137,216, and your unit represents 0.3467% of the total area of all units, then you’re responsible for paying $7,409.73 annually or $617.48 each month.
What happens if an owner doesn’t pay their maintenance fees?
Any default can result in a lien against the owner’s unit, which can be enforced in the same manner as a mortgage. Essentially, this can jeopardize the unit owner’s financing and the condo board is legally entitled to evict the owner and sell their unit.
No owner is exempt from the requirement to pay their maintenance fees, even if they have waived or abandoned the right to use the common elements, is making a claim against the corporation or is restricted from using such common elements.
The lien expires 90 days after the default occurs unless a certificate of lien is registered by the condo corporation. The owner must be given written notice of the certificate of lien 10 days prior to registration.
The lien, when registered, covers the amount of the default, the amount the owner is in default following the registration of the lien, interest, legal costs and other reasonable expenses incurred by the condo corporation in collecting the debt.
While the lien is on the property, the unit owner loses their right to vote at owners’ meetings.
If the debt is paid, the corporation must register a discharge and provide notice of same to the unit owner.