Condo Associations Crack Down on Condo Fee Delinquencies

Final BillCondo associations across the country are taking steps to prohibit some unit owners from neglecting their monthly maintenance fees.

For those of you not familiar with condo fees, unit owners are generally required to pay a monthly fee to their association to help with the general upkeep of the property. Living in a condo has its perks, such as never having to cut the grass or trim the bushes, but someone has to do those things, and the condo association needs to pay that person. Hence, condo fees.

And some condo associations are not happy about unit owners neglecting to pay these fees and are trying to do something about it.

Take for instance International Villa, a condo complex in Lauderhill, Florida, which installed a fingerprint-scanning device at the entrance of its property clubhouse. Each resident is required to undergo a fingerprint scan prior to entering the clubhouse, and if more than 90 days behind on their condo fees, they are not allowed entry. This means that these residents are not allowed use of the swimming pools, game room or racquetball court.

One unit owner also went a step farther and took matters into his own hands by posting a list of unit owners who were delinquent in paying their fees next to the mailbox area of every building in the complex. He added the message, "Pay up or move out," in English and Spanish to the sign.

In that specific condo complex, 15% of the residents are at least 90-days behind on their condo fees, and it's starting to show. Torn screen doors, roofs in need of repair and shabby carpets are a usual find at this complex.

Such hostility is really disrupting life for residents at such condo complexes. But the fact of the matter is that condo fees are vital to the upkeep of condominium communities, and many associations are taking steps to reduce monthly maintenance fees rather than allow residents to struggle with payments.

At another condo complex in Florida, the board President decided to hire security guards for their front entrance directly as opposed to utilizing a security service, which saves residents a significant amount each month.

Whatever your situation, try to talk to your condo board about it. Being honest in your attempts is more highly regarded than simply not paying and not communicating with your association.