Q. I live in a two-year old condo building that's still controlled by the sponsor. My common charges are already about a third higher than the developer said they were going to be.
What are my rights?
A. First, you need determine what is behind the spike in costs, say our experts, so that you can gauge whether the sponsor's estimate may have been deliberately low or whether the increase is reasonable.
"Since the sponsor has to pay their proportionate share of the common charges, the sponsor, like other owners, would not want to increase common charges unless necessary," says asset manager Roberta Axelrod of Time Equities.
"Fuel and water costs have increased greatly due to recent political disruptions and governmental policy changes beyond the control of the board," notes Axelrod.
Emergency or extraordinary repairs might also be responsible, or perhaps services have been added. Moreoever, says Axelrod, in order to qualify the building for Fannie Mae financing, boards have had to kick in an additional 10% of the operating budget to the reserve fund.