How can I reduce my condo association fees?

Your monthly assessments pay bills for services all owners benefit from, in common.

For example, landscaping, sewer and water, refuse pick-up, master insurance policy premiums, property management fees and so forth.

You are obligated to pay the monthly assessments assigned to your unit, so the only way to reduce your assessment amount is to find ways to save money in the budget process.

As an owner, you can volunteer to work on the finance committee, so that you better understand your annual budget. There may be expenditures the board includes that can be reduced by negotiation, or by reducing use or frequency.

For example, encourage your neighbors to recycle: recycle fees are usually lower than garbage fees; leave lawn clippings after a mow, thus reducing the amount of water required to keep the lawn green and thereby reducing your irrigation expense; conduct community clean-up parties, window washing parties and so forth -- limited by the practicalities of the suggestion, given the physical makeup of your community.

Generally, monthly assessments are not reduced -- they may remain flat for a year or two, and you may be able to find ways to reduce expenses, thereby holding down increases to your monthly assessments.