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Can I refuse to pay an increased condo maintenance fee?

Brooklyn, NY |

I am an owner in a NY self - managed condo ( 6 units in all ) . Just received a letter from our condo association with a notification of a proposed common charge increase ( effective April 1st ) due to increased of master building insurance and the water / sewage bill . The proposed increase is 2 over the current maintenance rate . Is this legal to hike the rate by this amt ? What are my options to not pay the proposed increase ? Should the agreement be unanimous by all homeowners before the hike can take effect ? Thank you .

Revision to my earlier question - the proposed increase is 22% of the current payment, not 2%. Would it make a difference? How can I legally dispute the validity and consequently avoid paying such an increase (while continuing paying the regular amount)?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

What do your various documents say such as house rules, etc. Generally, Boards review income and expenses every year and raise common charges as needed. A 2% raise is not too bad for this year.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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Posted

What are my options in avoiding to pay the increased amount and continue paying my current amount?

Posted

22 percent is quite high. However, if you fail to pay the proposed increase, then you may be facing charges from the condo for failure to pay common charges. Consult with an experienced landlord tenant lawyer to assist you.

If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com.

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I already realize that 22% is high. The question is - if I vote against the increase, will it allow me to refuse to pay not the common charges (I'm still going to continue to pay the current amt), but just refuse to pay the proposed increase.

Jayson Lutzky

Jayson Lutzky

Posted

no. If the vote is in favor of the increase, then you must follow the decision of the board. Majority rules.

Posted

If you do refuse, you run the risk of losing your condo.

If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email - Jgold@goldbenes.com

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How can I legally dispute or prove my inability to afford such an increase?

Posted

Generally, a decision to raise maintenance fees is made by the Board of Trustees and does not require a unanimous vote by all homeowners, however, you would have to review your governing documents to confirm this. When you purchase a condominium you agree to be bound by the provisions of your governing documents, including the possibility of an increase in maintenance fees. So long as the Board of Trustees passed the increase of the maintenance fees in accordance with the requirements of the Governing Documents and the law, you will have no choice but to pay the increased rate.

If you do not wish to pay the increase in maintenance fees, I would suggest you speak with an attorney who specializes in condominium law so that they can review your governing documents and determine what is required of the Board in order to properly increase maintenance fees and then determine if the Board followed the proper process to validate their decision. In the end, if the Board did not follow the proper procedure, the likely outcome will be that the Board will then properly validate their decision in accordance with the proper procedures, leaving you with the responsibility to still pay the increase.

Good luck to you in whatever you decide.

This response is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Becker & Poliakoff, LLP, or any of its attorneys and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up to date. You should not take action based upon this information without consulting legal counsel. This response is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and you should not act or rely on any information in this response without seeking the advice of an attorney. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon any single source of information, including this response.

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