HOA, condo fees rising for some Minnesotans

HOA, condo fees rising for some Minnesotans

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(KSTP) – If you live in a condo or townhome in Minnesota, you may notice your fees are going up.

One insurance expert says this is a trend he’s been seeing for the last several months.

Helen Mitchell recently found out it will be more expensive to live in the Coon Rapids townhome she’s called home for the last 20 years.

“I was like, ‘This can’t be right,’” Mitchell said. “We just had questions.”

That’s because her homeowners association management company sent her a letter referencing a “very troubling trend” with property insurance. It says their “total premium more than doubled.” For Mitchell, that means more money out of her pocket.

“When it goes from $240 and they add another $130, that’s more than a 50% increase,” Mitchell said.

“This is something we’re seeing far and wide,” said Aaron Cocking, president and CEO of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota.

Cocking says the reason this may be happening is fewer insurance companies want to get involved with HOAs or condos.

“I think the part where we’re at with the HOA/condo marketplace right now is that enough insurers have kind of taken it on the chin and they’re looking and saying, ‘This isn’t really the business we want to be in,’ or, ‘That’s not a risk we want to take right now,’” Cocking said.

One of the biggest factors he cites is that Minnesota sees the second most extreme weather of any state behind only California, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

“As we see more severe storms that are more frequent coming through and doing more damage, that becomes really problematic,” Cocking said.

A letter sent from Mitchell’s HOA management company to residents references an “industry-wide” issue, saying insurance companies are “dictating the market” and “declining to bid based on the number of units in an HOA as well as the age of the buildings.” It goes on to say this is something that “could get worse in the years ahead.”

“More entrants into the market that are willing to compete will, we believe … drive those premiums down,” Cocking said.

For Mitchell, she doesn’t know what the future holds for her.

“Three of us have all talked about moving,” Mitchell said. “This used to be an affordable option, but if not, it’s time to move on.”