Watch out for delinquent association fees

Orange condo building

Find out how many neighbors are falling behind on condo association fees your building or development depends on for essential maintenance.

With a growing number of homeowners struggling to keep up with adjustable-rate mortgages, late fees are becoming a problem.

If too many unit owners miss too many payments could special assessments be needed to make up the shortfall?

Take, for example, the Glen Waye Gardens condos in Silver Spring, Md. Earlier this year the Washington Post reported that 21 of the 214 owners were more than 30 days behind on their monthly fees.

Two had not paid since they bought their units, one in April 2005 and the other in September 2006. Both properties went into foreclosure.

The lost fees, which made up 5% of the association's annual budget of $1.3 million, forced the condo board to dip into its reserve funds to fix the roof and replace a water heater.

"When those things go bad, you have to spend on them. You have no choice," Vicki Vergagni, president of the community's board, told the Post. "We've had to use way too much of our reserves."