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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37082
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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My mother lives in a co-op last 29 years.She pays

Customer Question

My mother lives in a co-op for the last 29 years.
She pays her maintenance fees regularly. there were assessments that she did not pay not knowing exactly what it went for.
While my mother was out of the country for a few months,Management had approached a lawyer office to sue my mother. they did not explain to her what the assessments were for, they did not tell her they're going to lawyers.
Now they are demanding that my mother pay for legal fees and for late fees. What are my mothers options?
Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Unfortunately, not knowing what the fees were for wouldn't relieve her of the obligation to pay them. The fact that she was out of the country wouldn't relieve her of this obligation either. It would have been her duty to make sure that her bills were being paid on time and in full if she was going to be unavailable for an extended period of time.
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If she has become delinquent on her fees, then the Board can impose any fines and penalties that are allowed under the Bylaws for late payments. If they choose to take it further, they can hire an attorney to file a lien against her unit and potentially foreclose on it to force a sale so that the back fees can be paid. In most Bylaws, it states that if the Board has to take legal action to collect on a debt, the homeowner is legally responsible for any collection costs, including attorney's fees.
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So assuming that her Bylaws are like every other set I have seen, her options are limited to either paying the entire bill now or trying to see if they will agree to a payment plan in order to avoid having the Board sue her and have the costs increase even further.
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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...
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thanks
Barrister

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