OH Condo Owners must pay hefty special assessment for central heat

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Blog


I can’t make this stuff up.

Owners of Marine West Condominium units, located in Lakewood, Ohio, have been without central heating since last winter. According to several residents, they have been using space heaters to keep warm in their 1960s-era condominium building with views of Lake Erie.

NewsChannel 5 of Lakewood reports that the City Inspector recently ordered the condo association to repair its central heating system by December 4th. They also cited several other code violations at Marine Towers East.

Condo owners are facing hefty special assessments, ranging from $16,000 – $27,000, judging from the small glimpse of an assessment schedule featured in the news video.

Of course, some owners are angry. They don’t want to pay, or cannot afford to pay. Apparently the assessments that have been collected for over 40 years have not yielded sufficient reserves to pay for an entirely new heating system, estimated to cost over $3 million.

Some owners wonder what has happened to all the money they paid in assessments over the last 30-40 years. Others think the $3 million price tag seems out of line, even though the heating system requires new heating pipes for the hot water system.

The city of Lakewood maintains a fund to assist owners that cannot pay huge special assessments for “major building corrections.”

But that begs the question – is that assistance funded by Lakewood taxpayers, even if they do not happen to own a condo? Aren’t HOAs supposed to be self-funded, so as to avoid impacting municipal and county budgets?

Regular readers of this blog know that reports of HOA deferred maintenance and special assessments are very common. The older the condo building or planned community, the more likely there is deferred maintenance.

The fact that a city government has established a fund to help condo owners serves as further proof that putting private Associations in charge of essential services simply doesn’t work.

See the Video report here:

Lakewood condominium ordered to remove space heaters or go to court

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