The law is the law – or is it? Let’s face it, when a law is passed to stop an abuse or right a wrong, there is someone somewhere who is going to try and get around it. Florida statute 718.112 seems straightforward, it states that no fee more than $100 should attach to any manner of transfer – such as a sale, refinance, lease, and so on. An association has the right to preset those fees provided that it does not exceed $100 per applicant; spouses and parents with children are considered one applicant. Further, the approval for such transfers and fees must be in the documents of the association, such as their bylaws, CR&R documents, declarations, and articles.
South Florida Condo Fee Rip-Off Revealed
Condo boards and management companies have openly flouted this law, as revealed in an investigative report in the Miami Herald. The poor and middle class who are already squeezed by lack of mid-price and lower-price development as developers chase the luxury market, are also being squeezed for as much as $625 in transfer fees when they seek to buy or rent Miami condominiums. Some are even adding on move-in charges, pet fees, processing fees, registration fees, administrative fees, move out fees, overseas buyer fees. One respondent defended the fees saying that they are lawful charges for services and not transfer fees. Another said that $100 fees don’t even cover the cost of a background check.
Do these people know that Google exists? People can look up their statements and fact check them. Or are they so alarmed by a journalist ringing them up that they just pull something out of thin air?
On top of an ongoing condominium board election scandal with some serious allegations, condos and the extra layer of governance they represent are going to be getting looking over in Tallahassee. In the meantime, it’s likely to be business as usual unless something changes. A crackdown on condo boards would be, of course, countered by an onslaught of lobbying. Very few people seem to know that condo boards, HOAs, mobile home parks, and timeshares are regulated at the state level. However, boards can be recalled and complaints can be filed. Miami-Dade now has the highest number of condominium fraud complaints in the state. Condo owners are not just victims, but they are also enablers of conditions that let fraud thrive by not being fully cognizant of the rights they have or the need to actively oversee the boards that govern their developments. Knowledge is power and is often the only tool available to stop fraud and corruption.
If you or someone you know has been charged a transfer fee in excess of the $100 allowed by law, or feel that you have not been dealt with fairly by your board, I’d like to hear from you. The housing market is tight enough for working families.Whether you are in Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach counties, you have a right to be dealt with in accordance with state law and county law with regard to owning, buying, or leasing a condo.
Call our office, drop us an email, or chat with us live, because something like this is a serious ongoing offense against people who generally do not have the wherewithal to fight back against a cash-flush condo board, management company, or HOA but we’re here to help.