Q&A: Who Gets the Bill?

Q. I live in an association in Princeton. I have to have my front door lock replaced, and they are telling me once it’s replaced, I will get a bill for it. How can this be fair? I don’t own the door and can’t take the lock with me when I leave. The association claims windows, doors, etc., to be our responsibility. What am I paying $312 a month for?

                   —Feeling Unfairly Charged

A. “Many, if not most, condominium association master deeds provide that the front door, including the hardware, is part of the ‘unit,’” says attorney Fran McGovern of McGovern Legal Services, LLC, which has several offices in New Jersey.  “In most cases, the unit owner is solely responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement of unit items. Therefore, it is likely that the writer’s master deed makes the door part of the unit. The association’s property manager could direct the unit owner to the applicable master deed section. The unit owner’s $312 monthly fee funds maintenance, repair and replacement of the common elements, etc. The unit owner may obtain a copy of the association’s budget from the manager if the unit owner wants a detailed itemization of the association’s expected expenditures.”

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