HOA Special Assessment

4 Replies


I was recently assessed a $200 charge from my HOA on my personal residence in Chicago. The charge is for a "dryer vent cleaning" that each unit must do. I was just wondering why this is not a part of the monthly HOA fees I pay? Why is this additional? It seems like my association already over charges people and now I'm receiving a fee like this. So just wanted to make sure this is legitimate charge.


@Nicholas Sanchez If they assessed you, then it is legitimate.  It does seem high, but not familiar with your association or situation.   

But you raise great questions. You will need to raise this up with your board and other unit owners.  I would think it would be part of the budget (a Maintenance Item) and then everyone assessed for it, by a small increase in your monthly HOAs.  In addition, I am sure the association gets a bulk discount. 

I can understand why the association would not leave it to individual owners to get it done, as most simply wouldnt do it (And if not done, could burn the whole place down).   

 @Nicholas Sanchez This is very common.

I lived in and rented out condos. My first experience with a special assessment is with a condo we lived in, the HOA fell behind in paying for electricity of the common area and gas for central heat. I guess someone is negligent, maybe the PM, but if they built the charges into future HOA fees, it would be too late, the utility gave us 30 days to pay up before cutoff.

As to vent cleaning, it's quite possible it is something that has to be urgently done, as many owners don't consider it a priority, and a fire inspection could've mandated it. If there is not enough funds to immediately pay a contractor to clean it, then a special assessment is needed. I had dryer vents installed in my laundry room at home and I have to admit I'm negligent in not cleaning them, and my plumber who installed it warned me it could be a fire hazard if not cleaned. 

I don't know how large your condo complex is, but for condos of 50 or more units, it would be a challenge to get every owner to get to it, and properly clean the vents if it was discovered  vents were never cleaned and it could be a safety hazard.

I also had special assessments for new roofs, other building wide improvements at my rental condos. 

However, in each case, the board was able to explain the whys and never had a problem with it. 

Special assessments for something like this is an indication of poor money management. They need to do a better job of setting an annual budget including contributions to reserves for major repairs and replacements. A special assessment should only be used as a last resort. 

Hello @Nicholas Sanchez .  

Seems silly not to have a regular maintenance item rolled into your monthly fee.

Maybe they just discovered for the first time that it needed to be done and wanted to do it ASAP due to the fire hazard.

It's a good issue to raise at the budget meetings.


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