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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117369
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Hope u r well I was taken to court .00 late fees months

Customer Question

Hope u r well I was taken to court for 100.00 late fees for several months where I paid my $1,600.00 maintenance but forgot to pay a $150.00 assessment the total amount of late fees was $1,000.00. During discovery I truly believe we were given a copy of the. oars minutes by mistake. The minutes were from several years prior TO MY CASE where it said "THERE ARE STILL SEVERAL SHAREHOLDERS WHO ARE CHRONICALLY LATE OAYING THEIR MAINTENCE SOMETIMES AS MUCHNAS ONE OR TWO MONTHS. so: this means other shareholders were allowed to fall into arrears as much as $4,500.00 and they were NOT taken to court but I was in arrears of $1,000.00 and I was taken to court. Is this unequal treatment a major issue and criminal behavior which I can bring up In court?
I ask because the building is in violation of the stipulation so I need to go back to court so I wanted to bring up this charge of unequal treatment of shareholders along with another charge that the late fees I was charged were increased in the house rules from $50.00 to $100.00 but they failed to also ammend the lease. so I was charged more money then what is in my lease. It is my understanding that any financial changes need to mirror each other in both the house rules and the proprietary lease .
QUESTION: is the unequal treatment proof that I have from the board minutes a pretty damaging piece of evidence that I could bring up I. court since I have to go anyway for their violation of stipulation? can this be done in housing court or Supreme Court? I also injured myself and the building has a building violation for failure to maintain buildimg! Are all of these things pretty damaging to them or does the court look and say this has nothing to do with this case. but if others are not prosecuted for doing something nut I am this is selective enforcement, and unequal treatment and as a result supersedes any business judgment rule protection . Or am I thinking this is more damaging then it really is
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Unfortunately, there is no law regarding selective enforcement that makes it illegal or criminal. It may be unfair that they sue one owner and not another owner, but to sue one owner over $1000 and let other owners who owe $5000 go without being sued is neither illegal or criminal. HOWEVER, that being said, if you can show that the owners who are not being sued are perhaps board members (typically that is why they are not sued) then you have grounds to turn around and file a counter suit against the association for breach of fiduciary duty, because they are allowing board members to not pay and pursuing members or you could sue for breach of duty/contract against the association for not properly collecting dues. This would require an attorney representing you because you would be suing the board on behalf of the association and it is called an owner derivative action, meaning you are suing them on behalf of the association and as such you must have an attorney to do so.

So if the building is in violation of the stipulation, you need to file a breach of contract/contempt of court motion and you can file a new suit against the association/board for breach of fiduciary duty for allowing board members to get away with non-payment of dues.

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