A Special Assessment, as it relates to condominiums, is a cash-call to all condo unit owners. This is usually implemented when the amount of money in the condo reserve fund is insufficient to pay for any upgrades, renovations or emergency repairs to the condo building.
Depending on the individual situation, the Special Assessment may require immediate attention, as in the case of emergency repairs, OR it could be spread out over months or even years of payments.
It is not unusual, for example, for condo owners to have to deposit, for example, $10,000 spread out over 36 equal monthly payments of $278 each. These payments would simply be tacked on to the monthly condo fees for the duration of this cash-call.
Although not avoidable altogether, the threat of a special assessment can be minimized by accurate ‘Reserve Fund Studies’. (See explanation)