My friend owns a townhouse in a community in Islamorada. The condo association has an elected board that votes on maintenance questions etc. There are mangroves along the condo waterfront which have not been maintained. The board decided that they need to be trimmed and got the necessary permits and selected a company. They passed an assessment for the trimming because the waterfront is a common element. There is a lot of blowback from the non-waterfront owners because they don't receive a direct benefit. There is threat of litigation from the non-waterfront owners. So, the waterfront owners are now wondering if they can strucure assessment so that they are paying twice as much as non-waterfront owners. If so, what is the best way to structure it?
This depends mostly on the Declaration of Condominium. Whether the area in question is a common element, limited common element or owned by each unit owner. You need to speak with a real estate lawyer or at first at least have the board get a legal opinion from the association attorney.
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If the area is a common area, which is most likely if all unit owners have access to the waterfront, then the cost must be spread equally. It's not a matter of who gets to benefit from the view. It also depends on who benefits from the property being overall maintained properly and if the area is used by all owners for other purposes such as swimming, boating, etc.
I don't see non-waterfront owners being successful in this since poor maintenance reduces property values for all.
As Mr. Gorfinkel stated, a lawyer would need to review the governing documents to see if this matter is addressed in the documents.
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