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Management's company inappropriate charges

Discussion in 'Homeowners Associations & Boards' started by Shahz, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. Shahz

    Shahz Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I just purchased a condo in NJ as an investment. The whole process went smoothly until all the payments were made. Afterwards, i received the bylaws from the HOA and management company's "required charges". Here are the two main issues

    1. The management company charged me $500 to provide me the electronic copy of these documents. I think this is a ridiculous amount to provide me something i am owed by law after the purchase is complete.

    2. The management company is also demanding a NON-REFUNDABLE "move in fee" of $500 everytime a tenant moves in. Regardless of whether or not any damages take place during the move. I would rather pay a lawyer $1000 to take them on legally then to pay this outrageous fee. I don't think I owe a management company ANYTHING to move into a property i own. Now if some damage takes place during the move-in process, i can definitely pay for that (and maybe even give them a refundable deposit) but for this to be non-refundable seems inappropriate and probably not legal. Moreover, it significantly impacts my cash flow.

    I haven't signed any documents that say that i agree to pay this fee.

    Any legal avenues i can take? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Yes, you did. You signed purchase documents that likely say you are bound by the CC&Rs and by-laws of the HOA. If those fees are specified (or implied) in those documents you are stuck paying them or end up with a lien on your property and eventual lawsuit or foreclosure.

    You should have demanded those documents from the seller at the getgo. In fact, there is a NJ contract addendum regarding condominiums that addresses just that. See Paragraph A of:

    http://www.bhnj.com/pdf/2016-Codo-HOA-Addendum.pdf

    You're welcome to consult an attorney and review your options.
     
    Michael Wechsler and hrforme like this.
  3. Shahz

    Shahz Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So I reviewed the contract and it doesn't mention those fees by the "management company". The HOA is mentioned on the contract of sale (395) but there is no mention of management fees to move in. Management fees are typically the HOA which they use to maintain the building. Screenshot of the page of contract attached.
     

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  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    If you did not agree to pay it then don't pay it.
    If they insist you owe it then they have means to prove you owe it and enforce the contract.

    I agree that this is information that should have been sought prior to purchase, but as for when it was legally required to be disclosed and at what point you might have become bound by it- that is buried somewhere in the documents, and if in dispute is ultimately for a court to decide.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Doesn't have to specifically mention them. You could be bound by them by virtue of buying into the HOA.

    What "typically" happens in HOAs has nothing to do with what "is" happening in yours.

    The point is that you had notice and ample opportunity to get the HOA documents which may have contained red flags about the HOA's right to charge fees that it deems appropriate.
     
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  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    You need to appreciate how the purchase of subdivided units of a jointly owned property work. In both condos and co-ops there is a "unit" which is in charge of the commonality. For example, if you're a co-op shareholder, the corporation owns the common areas and set house rules for the entirety. If you're a condo owner, you've bought into the association by nature, which could be a condo association or an HOA. The seller can't simply cut out the association and nor can you. It comes with the purchase.

    Your remedy , if any, would probably be against the seller but not the HOA. The covenants, conditions and restrictions for the property are what they are and govern your ownership of the property. If you don't like those terms than your remedy is with the condo board - so you may want to speak to them, although I doubt they would make some special allowance.
     
  7. Shahz

    Shahz Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So legally speaking, i have to pay the management company any amount they randomly chose and call it "move-in fee" no matter how absurd it might be? They might say $5000 for move in and i have no option but to pay it?

    This specific company also charged me $450 "admin fees" and $375 "condo resale package" just to send me an electronic copy of bylaws that I am owed by law after the purchase. I thought these charges were quite absurd as well.

    I am just trying to weigh the legal options here and trying to see if approaching it with legal help has any future. I would rather pay a lawyer $2000 to do some real work than to give this company $500 just because they created an invoice that says i owe them money.
     
  8. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Then that's what you should do. I don't think anybody here can be of any further help to you.
     
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  9. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    You always have a choice.
    You always have the power to say no or to walk away.
     
  10. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    It's not like there is an arbitrary amount set just for you. All of the property owners in the association are subject to the set of rules. Recently I reviewed property in Florida for a client that seemed to be selling at a lower market value than I had expected. Looking more closely, I discovered several high carrying costs, including stringent terms set forth by the association.

    It may cost you less for a firm confirmation of whether you have recourse. As is often said, let the buyer beware. Sorry to hear about what happened and good luck.
     

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