Do all condos have association fees?

Yes. Anyone who is thinking of purchasing a condominium unit must take the time to understand the various assessments that can be imposed by the unit owner’s association. There is some confusion as to the difference between regular monthly condo fees that must be paid by all unit owners on a regular basis and special assessments that must be charged off to unit owners when unexpected or extraordinary situations arise.

Regular or ordinary assessments called monthly maintenance fees, are used to pay for regular,ongoing operating expenses such as road repairs, utility costs, landscaping services, snow removal from parking lots and roads, security, contributions to the reserve fund and insurance for the common areas. The key to understanding condominium fees is to think of regular, flat monthly fees that are paid on a regular basis.

Special assessments are levied to pay for expensive, necessary repairs or improvements that were not part of the association's operating budget and not covered by a reserve fund. Special assessments can cover expenses such as large scale repairs, roof replacements, storm damage not covered by insurance or providing access to a municipal sewer system. Think of special assessments as being used to pay expensive one-time costs.

Follow the link below for an interesting discussion of condo fees and special assessments in the State of Washington.

Yes, generally.
Associations levy assessments against unit owners in order to pay for communal expenses. These might include:
  • Master insurance policy premiums
  • Landscape, pool, public recreational area maintenance
  • Basic utilities, and/or cable and Internet services
  • Contributions to maintenance reserves and other reserves, so that real estate assets you own in common can be replaced at the end of their useful lives
  • Professional services, such as tax preparers, property managers, reserve study experts, building inspectors and so forth

When you purchase a condominium, review the governing documents to confirm that you will be responsible for assessments, and to understand what steps your potential association's board must take against you, should you fall into arrears.

Part of condominium life is freedom from exterior maintenance of your home. The price for that freedom is assessments.

Finally, when you purchase a condominium you become a member of a multi-million dollar (usually) non-profit corporation that is charged with the security, maintenance and preservation of the real estate assets that you own in common with all other owners.

Unless your community profits from rental of its amenities, its only source of income is association assessments.