The Unsettling Reality: South Florida Condo Owners Forced to Abandon Homes Amidst Massive Special Assessments

How to Avoid Being Hit with a Large Special Assessment

Purchasing a condo can be a dream come true, but unexpected special assessments can turn that dream into a financial nightmare. Here are some tips to help you avoid being surprised by large fees.

Understand Reserve Funding

Many older condo buildings in Florida have long waived reserve funding, but new laws now require adequate reserves to cover maintenance and repairs. Before buying a condo, ensure the building has a healthy reserve fund. This will protect you from sudden hikes in fees.

Watch for Red Flags

Be cautious if banks demand a higher down payment due to the building’s lack of reserves. Tkachun experienced this firsthand when banks required a 25% down payment on her condo. This is a significant indicator that the building may not be financially stable.

Evaluate the HOA’s Financial Health

Research the Homeowners Association’s (HOA) reserve fund status. A well-funded reserve means the HOA is prepared for future repairs and unexpected expenses, reducing the likelihood of hefty special assessments.

Get Involved and Stay Informed

If you receive a special assessment, gather support from other homeowners and file a complaint with your board. This approach works best if you can prove the assessment is excessive or funding non-essential projects. At the Cricket Club, some residents are collecting documentation to challenge the fees.

Community Dynamics

Special assessments can create tension among residents, especially between those who can afford the costs and those who cannot. Being aware of this dynamic can help you better navigate potential conflicts and find allies in your efforts to manage or contest unexpected fees.

By being proactive and informed, you can avoid the financial strain of large special assessments and enjoy your condo living experience.

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