Condo Association Scam?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by 07 LMB Z06, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. 07 LMB Z06

    07 LMB Z06

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    I need GT's opinion (this may be a bit long so I apologize in advance). I received a letter from my condo's property mgmt. company stating as of Feb. 1, 2013 there is a delinquent balance associated with my property of $268.70. If I don't pay the balance in full by March 7, 2013 the case will be turned over to the condo association's attorney to begin collection proceedings.

    I know this is incorrect; I'm just trying to figure out if it was a clerical error or if this is some kind of scam. Here is the pertinent info:

    - I closed on this condo August 21, 2012

    - Monthly assessments are $346.70 and I have bank statements showing all assessments paid in full from September 2012 until Feb. 2013, and the pro-rated assessment for August was paid during my closing (so I have no idea where this random amount of $268.70 is coming from)

    - No special assessments have ever been levied (at least not since I've lived here)

    - A letter issued by the property mgmt. company to my attorney showed all balances had been paid in full up to August 17, 2012 (four days before my closing) so there didn't appear to be any delinquent balance at that time

    With all that in mind this letter started throwing up all kinds of red flags:

    - It's not on property mgmt. company letterhead (it looks like a pretty basic word document).

    - It deviates between referencing my building as "condominium" and "condo" (seems informal for a letter making this type of accusation)

    - It asks me to make a check payable to the condo association (shouldn't payments be to the property mgmt. company?) and it gives a P.O. box in downtown Chicago (I live about 30 mins. outside of the city)

    - It was simply sent first class mail (don't letters like this need to be sent certified mail to ensure that I do in fact receive it?)

    - This is the very first time I have heard about a delinquent balance, and they jump right to collections. Shouldn't there have been prior warnings?

    - It has no contact name or phone number to call if I have questions. It says inquiries must be sent in writing and lists the same P.O. box as the address.

    - The letter included a transaction history going back to June 1, 2012 and shows the $268.70 first showing up on June 25, 2012 (remember I closed on the condo on August 21, 2012)

    I left a voicemail with my property mgmt. company, but there won't be anyone in the office until Monday so I just figured I'd ask GT's opinion in the mean time. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  2. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

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    Contact the mgmt company
     

  3. Adjuster

    Adjuster

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    Most likely not a scam. In my condo experience the purchaser of a condo also purchases any back due association fees or any other fees owed such as assessments. I don't see how they can pin this on you. I am sure you will get it straightened out Monday when you speak with the management company.


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  4. jdeere_man

    jdeere_man CLM

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    Sounds like a scam
     
  5. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr CLM

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  6. Adjuster

    Adjuster

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    By the way the condos I lived in if you were one month behind on association dues or assessment fees they would immediately file paperwork to own your condo. The only people that didn't pay were people on their way out.


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  7. RenoF250

    RenoF250

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    Never buy a condo, you don't own anything but a condo association liability.
     
  8. 07 LMB Z06

    07 LMB Z06

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    I know my post was long, but it wasn't THAT long. I addressed that in my last paragraph.

    Thanks for the responses. Adjuster, the info. is much appreciated. I am current on all assessments. My first assumption was something unpaid by the prior owners as you mentioned. However, the letter from property mgmt. stating there weren't any unpaid balances as of four days before my closing seems to rule that out.
     
  9. dsa1115

    dsa1115

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    I think contacting a lawyer is premature. Call the property management company and have them explain any balance, and you should have proof of various payments you've made. Seems pretty simple.....credits and debits can't lie.
     
  10. Russell Speir

    Russell Speir Millennium Member

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    I owned a condo for five years and was a member of the board most of that time. It sounds more like an error to me, perhaps they credited someone else's account by mistake. If you don't get a satisfactory answer from the property management company, contact the title company you used when you closed. If an amount was due before you closed, the title company should have found it and would be responsible.
     
  11. jpa

    jpa CLM

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    I vote scam. He has a letter from the management company that the assessments were paid current up to 4 days before his closing in August. If that's the case, why would he have a charge that appeared in June of that year?

    Scam. Get names of who you talk to at the management company and also ask them to send you a current statement of account.
     
  12. airmotive

    airmotive Tin Kicker

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    Ahh, condos.

    All the expenses of home ownership with all the BS of apartment life.

    Never understood the attraction.

    Oh...the OP. Sounds like a clerical error.
     
  13. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    Is the address they want you to send the check to the same as where you've sent previous payments? Is it the address that's on their letterhead? Is there a phone number on the payment request? How about the envelope it came in? If there's no contact info on those, and it's just a plain envelope with no return address and no contact info, it's probably a scam. So then it's research time.

    What do you get when you google that address? What businesses/individuals use the address? Who is the property owner of the address?

    You have the best research tool in the universe at your fingertips. Google the address, check it in country property records, see what you find.

    If it's not an address commonly used by your Condo Association or Property Manager, it's almost certainly a scam. If it IS used by them, then it's probably not a scam, but some sort of problem you'll need to work out with them.
     
  14. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

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    When I say "contact the mgmt company", I mean, you speak with someone at that entity who is NOT a receptionist or clerk, you outline the issue, get their name, etc etc and start an audit trial.

    I acknowledge your attempt to reach out to them by leaving a VM message, but communication is when we ensure the recipient of our message has confirmed not only that contact has been made, but acknowledges the content of the message.

    If the mgmt co is closed until Monday, you will not have a resolution before then. The effectiveness of any other advice given to you here will be almost zero - unless it is in the form of "gather your records".

    good luck.
    - G