If our condo was recently hit with a bill dating back to before the individual owners took over the building from the sponsor, who is responsible?

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If our condo was recently hit with a bill dating back to before the individual owners took over the building from the sponsor, who is responsible?

When does the responsibility for the building turn over from the sponsor to the unit owners? When a certain number of owners closeor move in? On a pre-set date? Are there any conditions in which the sponsor could be held responsible for old bills?

Asked on December 16, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have essentially two issues going on.  First, you have a bill to which theoretically none of the condo owners were privy.  If the contract was signed between two parties and you as current owners were not considered known third party beneficiaries when the contract was executed, you probably won't be liable for the bill and the homeowner's association should not pay. If it does pay, it should seek contribution (repayment) from the original entity or person who was supposed to pay the bill.  The person seeking payment may have a statute of limitations problems in that it may be too late to sue on that bill (each state only gives certain types of contract a certain amount of time to sue and they have to sue the right person to maintain jurisdiction).  Consider reviewing your association's bylaws and any documents filed with the state registry of deeds to see if this pops up or at least is mentioned or can be construed to fit within specific provisions.


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