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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55308
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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I am an owner of a condo in a building in Rockaway Beach NY.

Customer Question

I am an owner of a condo in a building in Rockaway Beach NY. I generally rent out the property to tenants. Last year the board decided to impose move-in and move-out fees without getting the consent of all of the unit owners. They are only now drawing up rules - in which these new fees are included. I am yet to sign anything that agrees to these additional (and often arbitrary) fees but I am now being chased for 1600 in fees from last year that i don't believe I need to pay. The rules haven't even been fully agreed by the rest of the owners yet either.
Do i need to pay? Are there any laws that enable boards of condos (this is not a co-op btw) to enact laws that levy fees like this? What would be my position if I were to refuse to pay?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Good morning Ben. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.

Any new fees such as these would require the requisite consent of the owners; it could not be unilaterally imposed by the board without the owners' consent. The board serves at the pleasure of the owners, not vice versa; and the board has a fiduciary duty to the homeowners. So, until and unless the requisite vote of the owners is obtained, this fee could not be enforced upon you. You can deal with this in one of two ways: i) you could simply provide them the foregoing info and refuse to pay; or ii) you could pay to avoid them fining you further and putting an invalid lien on your condo and then file suit to recover in small claims court and seek punitive damages as well as your actual damages due to their blatant and intentional misconduct in acting outside their authority.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for this.
I've just two follow up questions to help me make a decision - relating to the two options:
1. If i were to take route one - I'd like to double-check that they don't have any authority. So what documentation could/should I ask for that they'd need to supply that proves that their imposed fees are legal? Perhaps there's something in the existing bylaws that give them this scope..?
2. If I were to take option 2, and I paid for now and then made a claim after the event, do I lose any rights to claim given that i've seemingly acquiesced and paid the fees. Does paying them lose me any rights to 'unpay' them later?
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

You're very's my pleasure.

1) Ask them for the specific authority granted by a homeowner vote or specific authority in the Bylaws or Declaration giving them such authority.

2) You do not, With any payment, include a letter you are paying under protest and reserve all rights.

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