What you’re permitted to do is going to vary from complex to complex, so it’s vital you understand what limitations you’ll have in a particular neighborhood. If the bylaws aren’t clear, be sure to ask:
• What does the fee cover? (Trash, water, electric, heat, insurance, cable, Wi-Fi?)
• Are pets allowed? (If so, what type/size?)
• What does “exterior maintenance” include? (Windows, doors, deck/patio?)
• Are there restrictions on renting out your unit?
• Are the funds held in reserve sufficient to cover the projected replacement cost for the infrastructure as the property ages?
• How is parking allocated?
• Are there any “special assessments” for unanticipated past repairs that are due now or are known to be on the horizon? (Example: repaving of the roads and parking lots.)
“Living in an association can have its benefits,” Gemlo says. “They’re often billed as ‘carefree living,’ but it can also lead to headaches if you don’t do your research prior to signing on the dotted line.”
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on January 14, 2015.
Do you live in a condo? What tips do you have to offer when it comes to navigating the condo association? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.