Now that you’ve bought your own condominium and moved-in, you suddenly received a statement of account saying you have to settle your association dues for the month. But what is it exactly and why do you need to pay this? Many first time-time home buyers are not familiar with this monthly fee that is part and parcel of owning a condominium.
Here are the things you need to know about association dues:
1. Why do you need to pay association dues?
Association dues are monthly payments made by the unit owner or tenant to contribute for the overall operational expenses of the entire condominium building. This is mandated by the homeowners’ association.
A home buyer automatically becomes a member once:
- the unit is turned over to him or her,
- he or she has signed the Deed of Absolute Sale,
- or the title is transferred to the buyer’s name.
2. Who collects your payments?
The property management office is responsible for collecting association dues and other condo fees. The condominium developer employs them to manage and to maintain the building. They provide the services that residents need, including security personnel, maintenance personnel, janitorial services, and other necessary services for the building’s upkeep.
3. What do association dues cover?
One of the best things about owning a condominium is that you can take advantage of amenities such as swimming pools and playgrounds and not worry about its upkeep. You can also have a peace of mind knowing your family is comfortable and safe. But someone has to do the maintenance or man the building for you, right? That’s where your association dues come in.
Your association dues are used for building maintenance and repairs, taxes and licenses, wages of condominium employees (property management staff, maintenance staff, security personnel, etc.), utility expenses for common areas, and other miscellaneous fees needed to keep the building and all shared spaces well-maintained and working properly. Whenever the building is in need of repair or repainting, these funds will be taken out from the association dues that you’ve paid for.
4. How much do you need to pay for the association dues?
The cost of association dues vary in every project, depending on the operating expenses of the building. If the building offers more amenities, then it is more likely pricier. It is then computed based on the size (total area in square meters) of your unit. This includes the balcony space, if you have one.
For example, in One Serendra, the association dues cost Php 96 per sqm excluding VAT. Thus, if you own a 70 square meter unit, you have to pay Php 6,720 per month plus tax. So for those who have or are planning to buy a bigger unit (two- or three-bedroom), you would have to shell out more.
5. What are the possible penalties if you fail to pay?
You may be charged a penalty, depending on the condominium developer, when you fail to pay your association dues on time. Some developers charge 3 or 4% interest. And if you continue to not pay at all, developers such as DMCI Homes will consider your account as delinquent. When this happens, the building management will have the right to cut-off or deny your basic utilities. In some cases, they may also prohibit you from using the shared amenities.
6. When do you start to pay?
Once the unit is turned over to the owner, he or she is obliged to pay the association dues. Whether you have moved in or not, or even if no one is occupying the unit, you need to pay the dues. For example, the unit was turned over to you in May, but you only moved in on July, you still have to pay the association dues for May and June.
7. Are association dues subject to tax?
Yes. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Internal Revenue released Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 9-2013 which states that association dues and other fees collected by the homeowner’s association are now subject to Value-Added Tax (VAT). Although this has been contested, BIR noted that the recent rulings remain valid.
8. What will you get if you pay your association dues annually instead of monthly?
There are property developers who offer discount if you pay your annual association dues in lump sum. For DMCI Homes, they deduct one month from your total bill. If your association dues cost Php 1,995 per month (Tivoli Gardens), when you pay the entire amount for a year, you will only pay Php 21,945 instead of Php 23,940.
9. What will happen if I don’t want to become a member of the association and not pay the association dues?
Pursuant to Section 5 of Resolution No. 770 Series of 2004 (Framework for Governance of Homeowners Association), membership should be voluntary unless otherwise stated or stipulated in the contract, Deed of Sale, or property title.
As such, you may opt not to become a member. However, Republic Act 9904, or the Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners’ Association, stipulates that a homeowner will get the
right to enjoy the basic community services and facilities, provided that he/she pays the necessary fees and other pertinent charges.
The operative word here is provided. As long as you pay association dues, you will not be denied the use of the shared amenities and facilities. But if you don’t, then you can’t use them.
Do you think your association dues are used properly for the building’s maintenance? What do you other condominium fees and charges do condominium homeowners or tenants pay? Share them with us by leaving a comment below.