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I live in a small condominium with eight units. Two units have their private balconies with private entrance. They want to have a major repair done for their private portion. The expected cost is about 20K and they added this cost to the condo-fee which is to be shared among the units.

This means that my yearly condo fee effectively raised from $1.2k to about $2k. However, from my understanding, the repair cost of any private portions cannot be shared. I explained the law to the owners but they are not supporting me. One of the big-boys explicitly says that: "I do understand the law but I want to have my balcony repaired with your money anyway"

Do I have to sue them to fix this issue? A lengthy law-suit is too costly for me. If I refuse to pay $2k and only pay 1.2k, will I be facing any legal troubles?

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  • Do your condo association bylaws (or whatever is the equivalent) really allow those two people to impose fees unilaterally, or is that not what happened? More commonly this requires a vote of the owners, or of a board which the owners elect. What procedures do your bylaws require in order to impose or raise a fee, and were they followed? – Nate Eldredge Sep 12 '20 at 17:57
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    "I explained the law to the owners": would you care to explain it to us? Can you cite the laws on which you based your argument, and the logic you used to reach your conclusion? Someone might be able to check whether those laws actually support your argument and if it is valid. – Nate Eldredge Sep 12 '20 at 18:00
  • If there are repairs to the building, it is quite possible that all owners together are liable. For example a roof repair, even if water only causes damages to the top floors. Check if that is maybe the case here. – gnasher729 Sep 13 '20 at 0:09
  • @NateEldredge The two big owners managed to persuade two other owners so their voting rights exceed 50%. – High GPA Sep 14 '20 at 16:51
  • @gnasher729 It is their private balconies with private access only. – High GPA Sep 14 '20 at 16:51
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You did not specify a country or the specific contracts that might rule your condominium. At least in some jurisdictions indeed the repair cost of private portions cannot be shared. Moreover, you may not be required to pay some costs for common portions if you refuse to do so and won't make use of them.

Do I have to sue them to fix this issue? A lengthy law-suit is too costly for me. If I refuse to pay $2k and only pay 1.2k, will I be facing any legal troubles?

You will probably manage to continue paying just 1.2k, and have them have to sue you if they want to collect that supposedly owned money from you. However, there might be some requirements about providing notification of your refusal in a certain way or before some time elapses. I would recommend you to consult a local lawyer, it will be well-spent money. Plus, that refusal is actually sent by your lawyer (rather than just telling you how/what to say), should make your "law-understanding neighbor" think twice about going forward with their attempt of having you pay for it.

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  • Sry forget to mention that this happens in Canada. – High GPA Sep 12 '20 at 14:47
  • I don't know about Canada, but in some places, if you owe unpaid condo fees, the condo association can place a lien on your unit, preventing you from selling it until you settle the debt (or sue to invalidate it). – Nate Eldredge Sep 12 '20 at 17:55
  • @NateEldredge If they placed a lien on my unit and parking lot, can I still use my parking lot or they are free to let anyone else to use that parking lot? – High GPA Sep 14 '20 at 16:53
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    @HighGPA: AFAIK a lien doesn't affect your ability to use the property, only your ability to sell it. However, I am no expert. – Nate Eldredge Sep 14 '20 at 17:18

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