© 2022 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

South Florida Condo Associations Are Breaking The Law By Overcharging Application Fees

Kara Dapena
Miami Herald

It appears some, actually many, condo associations in South Florida are over-charging people on fees. Nick Nehamas of the Miami Herald uncovered the story recently and talked to us about what he found: 

We found that nearly one in two condos listed for sale around Miami-Dade are asking fees of more than $100 per person, which is on any reading of the law illegal and a rip off.

What exactly would they face if somebody turned them into the attorney general's office?

The State Division of Condos has sent letters informing the associations of what the law is. But I think the biggest threat could be from class action lawsuits.

A bunch of attorneys that the Herald interviewed, and have been in contact with the paper since the story came out, have expressed an interest in filing a class action lawsuits against the associations and the property management companies who are breaking this law.

Are people willing to go through all that for what could be a hundred couple hundred bucks?

You know,  they're really not individually. But this is the kind of small level rip-off that I think really galls consumers, having to pay an extra couple hundred bucks for nonrefundable fees that they're not supposed to legally. It is also a big stress for working and middle class people who can't really afford these fees to rent a condo every year. 

After the story came out imagine you got a lot of people coming forward sharing their stories.

Yeah Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, phone calls -- it was really off the hook for the couple days after that story came out.

What's next in the story then?

I think we'll be interested in seeing which condos and which management companies actually bring their fees down to a hundred dollars.  Some of the attorneys for the associations and the companies are arguing that the law actually does allow for more than $100 charges, but that simply just does not appear to be the law.

The rate of condos asking more than $100 is a lot lower in Broward than it is in Miami Dade. I think that's due to the higher prices here but also just to the reputation of the real estate economy down here in Miami and how it's not always playing by the rules. 

Luis Hernandez is an award-winning journalist and host whose career spans three decades in cities across the U.S. He’s the host of WLRN’s newest daily talk show, Sundial (Mon-Thu), and the news anchor every afternoon during All Things Considered.