WHAT IS A CONDOMINIUM?
The word condominium comes from a Latin word meaning common ownership or control. Ordinarily it means individual ownership of all the space inside the inner walls of an apartment or house and common ownership of the structures and land. The division between exclusive and common ownership exists regardless of the form or design of the project. The project may take the form of a high-rise, duplex, townhouse, or single family dwelling. In other forms of condominium projects, such as mobile homes, campgrounds, or marinas, the exclusive ownership may be merely a cube of airspace within which a mobile home, recreational vehicle, or boat is parked or anchored. The common ownership would be the land and improvements such as concrete pads and piers and the utility systems.
In your particular community, the inner space, which you own, is yours to decorate, to maintain, and to live in. Typically, everything else in the condominium development – the sprinkler system, the storm sewer system, the land, the streets, and etc. – is the common property of everyone who owns a Unit, and is referred to as a “Common Element”
WHAT ARE ASSOCIATION FEES?
The Association fee is sometimes referred to as the maintenance fee. This term is misleading. It is called the Association fee because, although maintenance is a large part of the expense, many other factors enter into the budget. Some of these are electric usage, water, legal, audit, insurance, management, capital improvements and reserves. For these and other reasons, the monthly payments are best described as Association fees.
Prior to each fiscal year, the Association budget is developed taking into account expense items for the past year plus any anticipated and inflationary factors. The Board of Directors approves the final budget. A copy of the budget is distributed to all Co-Owners prior to the next fiscal year (typically January 1 – December 31).
LIMITED OR GENERAL COMMON ELEMENTS
Some areas, such as decks, patios or porches, are called Limited Common Elements and are restricted to use by your family and guests only. To modify, or make a change in the exterior appearance of a Limited Common Element, please refer to the following procedures:
1. Submit a request in writing to the Association Board of Directors. Requests should be emailed, mailed or delivered to A Condominium Management Co., Inc. who will review it and copy it to all Board of Directors. If applicable, include drawings with dimensions that show top and side views, and relation to other Units in the immediate vicinity.
2. The Board of Directors will review the request at their next scheduled meeting and direct this office to respond with approval or denial.
3. Begin work only when permission is received in writing from the Association.
The Association will require that all applicable permits be received from the City/Township prior to beginning work. The City/Township will not grant a permit without proof of approval from the Association.
These modifications are Limited Common Elements and are the responsibility of the individual Co-Owner for upkeep. The rest of the Common Elements – roads, open parking spaces, green areas, etc. – are termed General Common Elements and are available for use by everyone in the development. You must read your legal documents carefully to understand which parts of your condominiums are designated as Limited, or General Common Elements.
The Co-Owners of a condominium are legally organized into an Association, which is responsible for governing and maintaining the Common Elements or the condominium. Each Co-Owner pays a monthly fee or assessment for these services.
THE MASTER DEED AND CONDOMINIUM BYLAWS
The condominium documents are made up of the Master Deed, Bylaws, and Site Survey, and are the basic documents establishing and describing your condominium and the future operation of the Association. These documents are recorded with the County Register of Deeds.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS OF THE ASSOCIATION
The Association, in general terms, is responsible for maintenance of the lawn areas (cutting once per week), snow removal (after 1.5” of accumulation), trash pickup (curbside or dumpster service), parking lots, carports, roads, sprinkler systems, and the exterior upkeep of the buildings. These jobs are sub-contracted by the Association, and overseen by A Condominium Management Co., Inc.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS OF CO-OWNERS
While the Association is responsible for maintaining the Common Elements of the condominium, each owner is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their home.
There are restrictions on the use of your Unit that can be enforced by the Association. They include such things as restrictions on pets, advertising, activities, aesthetics, vehicles, renting your Unit, and modifying the exterior appearance. Please check for these in the condominium Bylaws. It is your responsibility to become familiar with all aspects of the Association Master Deed and Bylaws.
The Association Board of Directors has the authority to promulgate additional rules and regulations, but not the authority to remove any existing rules within the Bylaws. You will need to be familiar with any additional rules and regulations that your community may have adopted.
If your mortgage your Unit, you must notify the Association of the name of the lender who is holding the mortgage, and the Association may inform the mortgage holder of unpaid assessments due from you and for your Unit.
Each Co-Owner is responsible for obtaining insurance on any improvements made to the interior of their Unit equal to the maximum insurable replacement cost, as well as personal property within the Unit.
HOW DO YOU REQUEST WORK ACTION?
Should you have maintenance problem at your Unit that is the responsibility of the Association, your may request this work to be done through the management company, A Condominium Management Co., Inc. Please submit a letter or email detailing the problem you are experiencing, or feel free to call the office to discuss in detail Once your request has been received, it is then entered into a computerized work order system, immediately assigning the work to an appropriate contractor or requesting bids if is an extensive problem.
Should you have a maintenance emergency at any time, please call A Condominium Management Co., Inc. immediately. An employee is on call 24 hours a day.
ARE PETS ALLOWED?
Depending on your community, pets are allowed in the condominium association under the following provisions:
1. All pets shall meet the requirements set forth in the Association Master Deed, Bylaws, and rules and regulations.
2. A Pet Registration Form must be on file with the management company for each pet in the Unit.
3. All pets must be on a leash and supervised by a responsible person while on the Common Elements and all droppings must be picked up and properly disposed of.
In lieu of a written request, a pet registration form can be provided to you by this office. The form may be filled out and submitted to the Association via the management company.