Q&A: Need Info on Special Assessments

Can a board ask for $3.5 million in a special assessment and not delineate the projects or dollar amounts to the owners? The unit owners have a vague idea what the board wants to do but we have no idea of the scope of the projects, no start dates or completion dates, and no specific dollar amount. This makes me very suspicious considering we were denied the full budget report for 7 years and were blatantly told, "It's none of your business."

—Uninformed in Union County

“The bylaws of a condominium or cooperative normally provide that the Board of Directors or Board of Managers is responsible for setting maintenance or common charge fees, which include any assessments,” says Dean Roberts, an attorney at the law firm of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. in Bridgewater. Therefore, the board is within its power to make a $3.5 million special assessment and whether or not they disclose the reasons, timing, and purpose of the assessment is a political rather than a legal question.

“As unit owners and shareholders often do, any assessment, especially one this large, would be subject to considerable questioning and demands for information. Depending on what the building's bylaws state, the individual asking the question may either request an open meeting or special shareholder/unit owner meeting of the condominium or cooperative to discuss the assessment.

“If there are questions about the board's financial management and dealings, they are best aired and resolved in a meeting of the unit owners or shareholders.”    

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