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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117401
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Condo Management Issue and I need advice from a Legal Expert

Customer Question

This is Condo Board and Condo Management Issue and I need advice from a Legal Expert who has extensive Knowledge with Condo By Laws and Condo Board Regulations mandated by State Of MDI sold a condo town house in June 2015 and at that time Two months of condo fees were collected by Condo Management. My account was on auto debit and condo Management kept deducting the fees till September In the interim I sent the New owner information and spoke to Condo Management employee regarding the New owner and payment method will stay the same. In October they stopped the auto payment. I had five units in same community so when I saw 04 deductions I called and emailed the Astt Manager who informed me to discuss the matter to Accounts Receivable person whom I left numerous messages and two Emails NO response. In December I was away on Overseas trip and when I came back I got a letter from collection company for that matter. I got hold of Property Manager who told me he will look into this and when he emailed me back He said I cant do anything as account is in Collection. Well I asked him My account was debited for three months after I sold the Property on what account. He simply has no answer. Isn't this a violation of Condo Board fiduciary responsibility. They are not responding and pursuing the collection matter? Since they are not responding and asking me to pay in close to $1000.00 in collection fees and not able to resolve this what can I do with this matter.
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.
If you sold the condo unit, then the new owner would be responsible for the condo fees for that unit. If the condo board took money from you that they were not supposed to take for that unit because you no longer owned it, then you are legally entitled to recover that money from them or from the new owner who is liable for the fees. It is not a breach of fiduciary duty, it is a breach of contract (the bylaws according to MD law constitute a contract between owners and the association). So, what you have here is a civil suit against the condo association and new owner both, who are jointly and severally liable to you to reimburse you for money that they took and you were not liable to pay (the new owner was) and also to remove liability for collection fees incurred through the breach of contract and negligence of the association in failure to bill the proper party.
So, at this point if they will not do anything, you have to file suit against both the new owner and association to recover your money and to extinguish any alleged collection fees to collect money that you do not owe them.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think you did not completely understand my situation. First I don't want to sue the new owner as Im the Property manager and Im already collecting condo fees from Him. I will explain you again this situation
Sold the property to new owner in June Im still Managing the property.
Condo Board collected two months of Condo Fees on HUD 1 shows and they were disbursed the funds by title company in June.
Condo kept collecting condo fees for July, August and September which I wanted them to collect as I m still managing the Unit. In October they abruptly stopped without my instructions I emailed them the reasons trying to find out No Answer and then collection process started in December. I was not aware they also collected two months of Condo Fees in closing which I find out later when I start doing more research with title company. So they got 05 months of fees three from our Bank Accounts on auto debit and two from HUD1 The three months which they deducted from my auto debit they are not coming forward with any explanation. I wanted them to continue but they stopped. Not only this causing loss of my time and attention but also harassment of collection letter. I think Im explaining in better way now
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply and the additional information.
If they stopped collecting when they should not have and they collected fees they should not have collected, then it would not be the new owner who is liable, it is the association. Under the theory of estoppel, the association cannot charge you for something that was no fault of your own and it is a breach of contract and negligence for them to charge you delinquent fees for something that their own conduct caused and they cannot benefit from something they caused from their own conduct. So, it is still not a breach of fiduciary duty, but it is negligence and breach of contract and they are not legally allowed to benefit from their own negligent acts.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What should I do to resolve this matter
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If the association is now refusing to correct their mistake, your next option is to file suit against them for the money you are due back and to remove the collection fees that are being inappropriately charged because of their negligence.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well then the only resolution is Judiciary system Is there a specific Government agency whom I can report this matter and file a complaint
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Because these associations are pretty much allowed under MD law to set their own bylaws and govern themselves, there is no government entity other than the courts that you can go to for relief.