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Who will pay the balance of the special assessment if the property is sold?

Q: Our association has remodeled the clubhouse and has an important reputation. You can choose to pay in one lump sum or for 10 years or more. If I sell while paying the valuation, am I responsible for paying the balance or will the new owner take over the payment? — Usher

A: Many communities are aging to the point where they need to undergo major renovations to allow residents to live in safe and well-maintained buildings and equipment.

As any homeowner knows, items need to be repaired and replaced over time, which is costly.

Most associations are relatively well funded, but many do not have the reserves to cover the required work. This is where the “special evaluation” comes into play.

A special assessment is a one-time fee to each owner of a community association required to repair, refurbish, or replace a shared part of the community. It could be an elevator repair in a high-rise apartment, a shared roof in a townhouse, or another community project that needs to be done.

If the association doesn’t save money, they often take out a loan to pay for the job. The bank secures the loan for a special assessment.

Due to the size of the valuation, the valuation is usually paid monthly for several years.

State law and community legal documents specify how special assessments are approved and carried out.

Voting is conducted by the board of directors or general members, depending on the composition of the association. In either case, you can attend a meeting where the entire community is notified and voting takes place.

For most special assessments, residents have the option of paying monthly or in one lump sum.

Most of the monthly payment plans allow anyone who buys the property to continue paying.

Still, I’ve seen associations where sellers have to pay off special assessments at the closing.

You will need to consider the written details of your assessment to learn your options. The manager of your association can get you a copy of the document for your review.

As a result of the condominium association’s remodeling of the clubhouse, the special rating has been high. Whether a condominium owner can pass its special rating to a new buyer depends on state law and community legal documents.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida lawyer and has been accredited by the Board of Directors as a real estate law expert by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business proceedings and contract law at his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is the chair of the real estate division of the Broward County Bar Association and co-sponsor of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults with various companies across the country on common Florida real estate issues and trends. Send him a question online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @ GarySingerLaw.



Who will pay the balance of the special assessment if the property is sold?

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