NEW JERSEY – When condo owners fall behind on fees
Christine Haas has lived happily for two decades at Suburban Terrace, a tidy collection of 248 garden apartment condos in Hackensack. But lately, as president of the condominium association, she has dealt with a frustrating issue: Some of her neighbors aren’t paying their homeowner association fees.
It’s a problem most condo associations deal with at some point, and it intensified during the recession and housing crisis, as condo owners lost jobs and fell into foreclosure.
“It’s frustrating,” Haas said. “One person owes us $30,000, including legal fees.” Altogether, the association is owed almost $230,000 in unpaid homeowner’s fees, Haas said.
The problem became “much worse” during the economic downturn, according to Eric Frizzell, a Glen Rock lawyer who represents many condo associations
“Many associations had many more delinquent unit owners than normal,” he said. Though the problem started easing 12 to 18 months ago, he said, it’s still a concern in many condo communities.
In a recent survey by the Community Associations Institute, which provides education and information to community managers and leaders, 11 percent of associations said late or unpaid homeowners’ fees were an issue. Read more: