Can a co-op charge compound late fees when they won’t give me a copy of my lease to check it?

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Can a co-op charge compound late fees when they won’t give me a copy of my lease to check it?

My co-op charged me a compound late fee in 2006. When I checked my proprietary lease I realized they had only given me 3 pages of the lease. They have refused to give me a copy or explain how late fees are calculated, and have continued to assess fees that are now over $2000. What can I do?

Asked on April 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can immediately seek a declaratory ruling in court on the efficacy of the lease if you were only given a certain number of pages, none of much contained the material issue of fees charged. You can seek legal counsel to write a letter to the co-op on your behalf explaining that if they don't give you the terms of the lease you are missing (and probably would not have signed on to if you knew the terms and late fees) and waive all fees, you will sue for fraud or breach of contract. If a lawyer's letter is not the direction you wish to go, consider talking to your state attorney general if that agency handles your form of landlord tenant matters. If it turns out you do indeed owe those late fees, never fear. If you truly were not informed of the lease terms regarding late fees, then the co-op cannot truly enforce that amount and a court (if you challenge) may lower the amount owed.


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