When you buy a condo, chances are you are buying a lifestyle. One of the main reason's most people purchase a condo is so they don't have to do yard work or exterior maintenance.
Here in Anchorage Alaska, exterior maintenance means snow removal which is a hassle given Anchorage's long winters.
One thing most buyers don't realize is that when you purchase a condo, you are not only are buying into shared walls and shared amenities, you are also partnering with the other owners financially.
By partnering financially, I mean the association dues are set at a level meant to pay for services required to maintain the development in the manner the owners desire.
The assumption is that everyone will pay their respective parts through their dues.
When hard times fall on people, they begin to determine which bills are priority. Sometimes people either can't pay or pay slow. Their dues begin to lag. Associations will begin to assess fines and late fees. After a couple months, they will lien the unit for delinquent fees.
When numerous people are in default, it can actatually affect the associations ability to pay their bills.
This is why you receive a document from the association that discloses many details in the development such as what the dues are, what they pay for and any planned "assessments" that might be assessed in the future for repairs or improvements to the development. In that document, you should see a delinquency report and see if there are units behind in their fees.
In short, it pays to be aware, in a condominium, you share not only in the quality carefree lifestyle, but also become financial partners with other owners.