What is University Commons?
University Commons is a 92-unit condominium community near the University of Michigan campus, founded by faculty members and built on land made available by the University. Residents are 55 years of age or older, and are graduates of an accredited 4-year college or university.
What is the relationship between University Commons and the University of Michigan?
Although University Commons’ site was purchased from the University, UC is a separate entity. And, although UC was founded by a group of University of Michigan faculty, the current residents are diverse in terms of their academic and professional backgrounds.
Must I have a connection to the University of Michigan to qualify as a buyer/owner?
No, a connection to the University of Michigan is not required. Buyers/owners must be at least 55 years old, and be degreed alumni of an accredited four-year college or university.
If we are a couple, must both of us meet the requirements of a qualified buyer/owner?
No, only one person in the couple need qualify as a buyer/owner. The other person must, however, be a qualified occupant. A qualified occupant is a person who meets at lest one of the following criteria: 1) meets the requirements of a qualified buyer/owner, 2) is a spouse or companion of a qualified buyer/owner or 3) a surviving spouse or companion of a qualified owner.
Are pets permitted?
Yes. When first taking possession of a unit, residents may have 2 dogs, or 2 cats, or one dog and one cat (no more than 2 pets total). The 2 initial pets may be kept at the unit until one pet dies. Thereafter, and in all other cases, no more than one dog or two cats (but not one dog and one cat) may be kept at any unit at any time. Animals must be on a leash at all times. When walking the animals, residents must immediately collect and dispose of all fecal material.
Are residents permitted to install hardwood floors and make other unit modifications?
All changes to the exterior of a unit and some changes to the interior of a unit must be approved by the UC Board of Directors. This includes carpeting and hard flooring surfaces. In any case, master bedrooms must be carpeted.
What about parking?
The large building (Woodbridge) has a parking garage. Each of the 60 units in Woodbridge has at least one parking space and the 8 largest units have two spaces. The Townhomes and Villas have attached garages (a 1-car or 2-car garage). In any case, vehicles may not be stored or parked in driveways or on the street.
Tell me about the monthly fees.
Here at University Commons, there are three monthly fees: the association fee, the program fee, and the AT&T U-verse fee. The amount of the monthly association fee is variable from unit to unit (ranging from $279 to $748) and is based on the square footage of each unit. The monthly program fee ($150) is the same for all units. The monthly AT&T U-verse fee ($90) is the same for all units, and provides a significant cost savings to residents on their TV, internet, and telephone services. There is also a one-time $500 association membership fee which is paid when a Purchase and Sale Agreement is executed.
How are these monthly association fees and the one-time membership fee used?
1) The monthly association fee is comprehensive and covers many services and expenses, such as maintenance of the grounds, some in-home services (e.g. annual replacement of furnace filters), contracted services (e.g. semi-annual exterior window cleaning, snow removal), water and sewer costs for all units, and the services of a professional management company which specializes in condominium management. In addition, a portion of the monthly association fee goes into the Replacement Reserve, a long-term fund which provides monies for capital expenditures not budgeted for as part of the annual maintenance and repair budget.
2) The monthly program fee goes toward the cost of a part-time business assistant and a full-time Community Director who coordinates lectures, music programs, and classes, and who provides support to UC’s many volunteer committees. It also goes toward the costs of maintaining the library, shop, classrooms, and the dining and recital/lecture halls. It provides the funding for post-lecture wine receptions and a special biennial event, the Asa Gray Lecture. All of UC’s events are available to residents and their guests at no charge.
3) The monthly AT&T U-verse fee pays for high definition TV for each unit (over 200 TV entertainment channels) and program recording capability for up to 2 TV sets; 3 Mbps internet for each unit; and unlimited phone service for each unit, which includes long distance for US and Canada.
4) The one-time association membership fee goes into a Restricted Fund which is used for educational and program related expenses. For example, in 2008, a new sound system was installed in UC’s Lecture Hall.
Do the monthly association fees include real estate taxes?
No. Unit owners pay their own real estate taxes directly.
Does any portion of the unit's sale price go to the association?
No. Units are independently owned.
Does University Commons offer any assisted living services?
No. University Commons is an independent living community. Assisted living facilities typically offer regular meals, housekeeping and laundry services, and transportation, as well as emergency pull cords, assistance with medications, bathing, dressing and daily chores. University Commons offers NONE of these services.
Tell me more about the "program" aspect of University Commons.
The founders of University Commons envisioned a retirement community where residents can engage in intellectual exchange, and immerse themselves in learning and cultural events. The outcome of this vision was the inclusion of a 17,000 square foot common space called Houghton Hall, which hosts a rich and varied schedule of cultural, educational and social events, including an elegant twice-a-week dinner prepared by a Chef Instructor and students enrolled in the Culinary Arts classes at Washtenaw Community College. (Interested residents sign up for -- and pay for -- the dinners.)
Tell me more about the residents at University Commons.
They are a diverse group. Some moved into UC from their Ann Arbor homes. Others come from cities and states around the U.S., and a few from other countries. Some are still actively working, while others are fully retired. Many travel a great deal, some own second homes, and many engage in volunteer work in the Ann Arbor community. The one thing they all share in common is a love for living in a lifelong learning community.
Tell me about the site.
Located on a hill and surrounded by many acres of hardwood forest and natural wetlands, the site is about one mile from a well-maintained Ann Arbor city park and golf course, and about one block from a university commuter lot and its campus bus service. City bus service is available at the entrance to the Commons.
How can I learn more about living at University Commons?
Call or e-mail the Community Director's office (734-332-1221 or email@example.com) and ask for a resident-led tour of UC's grounds and common areas. In addition, you can e-mail one of the Realtors listed on this website's "Resales" page and ask to visit some of the units that currently are on the market.
University Commons Monthly Fees
Where do they go?
There are three monthly fees at University Commons: the association fee, the program fee, and the AT&T U-verse fee. The amount of the association fee is variable from unit to unit and is based on the square footage of each unit. The program fee is the same for all units. The AT&T U-verse fee (a community-wide package) is the same for all unites, and provides a significant cost savings to residents on their TV, Internet and telephone services. There is also a one-time $500 membership fee, which is due when the Purchase and Sale Agreement is executed.
Management by a professional community management company
Full-time on-site maintenance staff - maintenance manager plus a maintenance technician:
- Keep the grounds, buildings, and common areas within Houghton Hall neat, attractive and in good repair
- Regular preventive maintenance of all community building systems
- Spring and fall cleanup of leaves, sticks, etc. from grounds, building roofs and gutters
- Snow removal from all roads, sidewalks, and building entries.
In-home services by maintenance staff
- Replace bulbs on all standard or originally-installed electrical fixtures
- Check and clean or replace filters semi-annually on the media air cleaners and Aprilaire furnace humidifiers
- Replace smoke detector batteries
- Repair minor plumbing leaks
- Semi-Annual exterior window cleaning
- Lawn and landscaping services, including mowing, tree and shrub management, mulching, and bed weeding
- Maintenance and monitoring of building and life safety systems including:
Houghton/Woodbridge electronic access
Fire protection systems
- Water and sewer paid for all residences
- Hot water heating for Houghton/Woodbridge building (not Villas and Townhomes)
- Site lighting
- Trash & recycling
- Common areas gas & electricity
- Cleaning services for common areas of Houghton/Woodbridge
Long-term Replacement Reserves
A portion of the monthly associate fee goes into the Replacement Reserve, a long-term fund which provides monies for capital expenditures not budgeted for as part of the annual maintenance and repair budget.
- Full-time Community Director who coordinates lectures, musical programs, classes, etc., in addition to providing support to residents and committees.
- Part-time Business Assistant
- Committee budgets
- Includes (for 2 TV sets) over 200 entertainment channels, High Definition TV and program recording capability
- 3Mbps Internet for each unit
- Unlimited phone service, which includes long distance for the US and Canada
The one-time $500 association fee goes into a Residential Fund, which is used for educational and program related expenses. For example, in 2008 a new sound system was installed in the Lecture Hall.
Requirements* for Purchaser of Condominium Units at University Commons
Units may be purchased by persons who fulfill the qualifications of a Qualified Owner. Qualified Owners are persons who are:
(A) fifty-five (55) years of age or older and are present or former faculty, staff or degreed alumni of the University of Michigan or other accredited four-year college or university,** or (B) a surviving spouse or surviving companion of a Qualified Owner.
In addition to meeting the requirements of a Qualifies Owner, the new buyer will be governed by the UC bylaws, which state, in part, that:
- US units are for single-family residential purposes only
- A unit must be occupied by at least one qualified owner. The second person in the unit must be a qualified occupant. A qualified occupant is a person who meets as least one of the following criteria: 1) meets the requirements of a qualified owner, 2) is a spouse or companion of a qualified owner, or 3) is a surviving spouse or companion of a qualified owner.
- No unit may be permanently occupied b more than two persons. Exception: an employed health care worker may be the third person staying in a unit while providing health care to a resident.
- Children are not permitted as residence
- Potential buyers must submit a University Commons Membership Application to the UC Community Director for approval by the UC Board, and an approved byer must pay the $500 UC membership fee at the time (s)he executes a Purchase and Sale Agreement for his/her University Commons home.
*This summary of Section 6.2 of University Commons Condominium Bylaws is provided as a convenience to Realtors, potential buyers and current UC co-workers. IN the case of conflict with this summary, the Bylaws will govern.
**If a couple, only one person must satisfy the age and degree requirements.