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Owners Pay Assessments – Not Maintenance Fees or Dues! By: Nick Meinert

The Ohio Condominium Act and Ohio Planned Community Act both require that associations “collect assessments for common expenses” from the owners.  Annual assessments, monthly assessments, special assessments, and enforcements assessments are all legally referred to as assessments.  Despite this statutory assessment authority, many associations still improperly refer to their assessments as “maintenance fees” or “dues.”  As neither of these terms appear in Ohio statutes, boards should always use the proper terminology, “assessments.”  Do not allow an owner to frustrate the association’s collection of assessments alleging that the association has no legal authority to collect “dues” or “maintenance fees.” 

Association monies are expended on numerous items such as management and insurance that are not “maintenance” related.  Therefore, “maintenance fees” is not proper terminology.  Furthermore, referring to assessments as “dues” gives owners an inference that they may opt out of membership by not paying.  Clearly, “dues” and “maintenance fees” are not proper terminology.  Boards should always use the proper terminology, “assessments.”