Recent reports show that South Florida condo associations have been overcharging consumers for application fees, to the extent that they have violated state law. According to the Miami Herald, over half of the condo listings in Miami-Dade county exceed the limits for application charges.
The Exorbitant Fees
The law mandates that application fees for condo associations be capped at $100, but many tenants and buyers are being charged fees ranging from $125 to $625. What’s even more appalling is that on top of charging over the maximum limit, some associations charge extra for pets.
Infringements on Consumer Rights
The disregard for limitations placed on application fees directly infringes upon the rights of consumers. Coupled with the fact that the area is one of the least affordable places to rent or buy in the country, the fees are blatantly discriminatory. The injustice makes it even harder for many who can’t afford these high upfront charges in addition to costly rent for suitable living.
Those who have fallen victim to paying the illegal fees have the basis for a civil lawsuit, but the amount isn’t substantial enough to justify the time, energy, and potential fees that filing a suit would take. An alternative which has been pursued by some is filing a complaint, but for the 13 individuals who did so in Miami-Dade and Broward counties over the past year, all that they accomplished was having educational materials sent to the associations. That doesn’t mean those affected are without options, but in order to secure the refunds which are deserved, the help of a Miami consumer protection lawyer will be key.
If you’re in need of guidance regarding your rights and real estate law, a Miami foreclosure attorney at Graham Legal can help. Our team holds a diverse range of expertise and can help protect you from situations like these. Give us a call today.