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What Are Special Assessments in Condo Buildings and What Do They Cover?

  • May 1st

by UrbanTurf Staff

Condominium buildings often require special assessments to cover unexpected expenses, repairs, or upgrades. These assessments are additional fees that condo owners must pay to cover these costs, and they can be a significant financial burden. In this article, UrbanTurf will explain what special assessments are, how they work, and what they usually cover.


What are special assessments?

Special assessments are additional fees that condo owners must pay to cover expenses, repairs, or upgrades that are not covered by the regular condo/maintenance fees. These expenses can arise from a variety of reasons, including emergencies like natural disasters, unforeseen repairs, or even legal action taken against the building.

How do special assessments work?

Special assessments are usually imposed by the condominium board and usually need be approved by a vote of the condo owners. The board of directors will determine the amount of the assessment based on the projected cost of the project or expense.

The assessment is typically payable in installments over a set period, which can range from several months to several years. Depending on the size of the assessment, condo owners may have the option to pay it in full or spread the payments out over the installment period.

What do special assessments usually cover?

Special assessments can cover a wide range of expenses. Below, we outline some of the more common types of expenses that special assessments may cover:

  1. Repairs: If there is damage to the building that is not covered by insurance or monthly condo fees, a special assessment may be required to cover the repairs. This could include repairs to the building's roof, plumbing, electrical systems, or other structural components.

  2. Upgrades: If the condo association wants to upgrade the building's amenities or common areas, a special assessment may be required to cover the cost. This could include upgrades to the building's pool, gym, lobby, or other areas.

  3. Emergencies: If the building experiences an emergency like a natural disaster or a fire, a special assessment may be required to cover the cost of repairs.

  4. Legal Fees: If the condo association is involved in a legal dispute, a special assessment may be required to cover the cost of legal fees.


In conclusion, special assessments are an essential part of condo ownership and can help ensure that the building remains in good condition and up to date. Although they can be a financial burden, they are necessary to cover unexpected expenses and maintain the value of the property. Condo owners should always be aware of the potential for special assessments and budget accordingly.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/what_are_special_assessments_in_condo_buildings_and_what_do_they_cover/20967.

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