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What is a common area assessment?
A common-area assessment is a cost that members of condominium associations and homeowners associations must pay to maintain common areas, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, laundry areas and parking lots. These costs are also referred to as condo fees or homeowners association fees.
People who own condominiums, townhomes and homes in neighborhoods with homeowners associations share ownership of the common areas. Ball fields must be mowed, pools need cleaning, elevators need servicing and parking lots need stripes painted. All of these services cost money. If you own a condo or home in a homeowners association, you pay a portion of the cost of maintenance.
The common-area assessment may also include a homeowner’s share of property taxes paid on common areas.
Common-area assessments can have a big impact on your ability to sell a home or condo. Make sure you inquire about HOA fees before buying a condo.
Common-area assessment example
Imagine a homeowners association with 47 housing units that must pay to mow a large field several times every summer, plow roads in the winter, and routinely clean the swimming pool. All of that could cost $50,000. Each of the 47 owners would have to pay about $1,064 a year for that upkeep. Common-area assessments can be levied annually, monthly or quarterly, depending on how an association is organized.
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