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Condominium ownership is becoming increasingly popular all over the United States. With increased condo usage should come increased awareness of the environmental issues attached to them.

Indeed some environmental problems can necessitate huge special assessments before you buy.

Before you buy you should find out if the unit or the common elements have or have had environmental problems. These issues will become yours after you close.

For example, many condominium associations have underground storage tanks that serve each unit. If the tanks are leaking, every unit owner may be specially assessed to deal with this association wide problem.

This can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and may result in substantial special assessments.

Other environmental issues that may affect a condominium association include: lead paint, asbestos removal, leaking furnace oil tanks, polluted wells, trash disposal, problems with recycling and sick building syndrome claims.

Before purchasing, be sure to look at the regularly kept minutes of the association. Has there been any discussion about environmental issues or environmental claims?

Also speak with the management company before you purchase and don't be afraid to ask questions. Speak to the unit owner as well as seek a written statement from the unit owner that he or she is not aware of claims that may affect the association.

Condo ownership can be great. Remember to add an environmental checklist to your inspection and it'll be even better!

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