Condominium obligated to collect roof reserves

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Dear Poliakoffs,

I have lived in my condo since 2006. In 2017 my monthly dues began including an extra fee for a roof assessment. When I asked what this fee was, several association members simply told me that every owner needs to pay this, and that it’s a common expense. Is this really a common expense, and why is it just appearing after 11 years of living here?

Signed, R.B.

Dear R.B.,

First, as I have discussed in previous columns, a condominium is a system of ownership where each unit owner also jointly and severally owns the common elements—such as the walls and structure of the building. That ownership interest is attached to each unit and cannot be removed from that unit. The condominium association, as the corporation that manages the condominium, is responsible to maintain these common elements, and the costs of such maintenance are generally a common expense to be paid by the owners, in the percentages described in the declaration of condominium.