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Legal fees on co-op maintenance bill

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Legal fees on co-op maintenance bill

Postby petrossian » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:15 pm

I live in a NYC co-op. About 2 years ago I had a dispute with the co-op board, we went to court, but never to trial. We settled by a series of agreements. The judge refused to award legal fees to either side. However, the co-op board put their legal fees on my maintenance bill. They refuse to take it off or answer my inquiries. It has gotten so that I am not able to figure out my monthly maintentance. I told them so and the managing agent doesn't answer.
If the judge said no legal fees to either side, is this considered contempt of court? Is there anything I can do? I don't want to sound
cliche, but this is deliberate. I hear they were angry they didn't win their case.
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:46 pm

Wrong web site. This is tenant.net, not coop-owner.net.

But you do have a point. Unless ordered by a court (for a tenant, that is), legal fees are not permitted.

Whether or not that's the case for coop owners, I can't say.

Maybe the cooperator.com might know.
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Question on the initial post

Postby Ruby » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:55 am

i find myself in a similar situation. I live in a mitchell-lama co-op. Does the 'tenant' term apply to me? Thanks for your time.
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Postby ronin » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:10 pm

If you're Mitchell-Lama how can the same thing apply to you? There's no HPD involvement in the case above. Yours would have to have HPD involvement- please explain...

It's non-sequitor. Does not compute.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:33 pm

Hi All

Oh ronin I just love when you talk digital :lol:
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Postby Ruby » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:40 pm

Not exactly re: HPD. They have had their atty send me letters + not follow up, take me to housing court numerous times over the years, + take me to HPD.
Regardless of the (non)action, disposition,etc..., they put legal fees on my bill. They then charge me a late fee for having an unpaid balance.
They have NEVER had a judge award legal fees. They've put fees on my account for their atty writing me a letter that was never followed up on by them, for a case that was dismissed due to their non-appearance,etc.
If they incur ANY legal fees they believe i must pay them + put them on my bill.
Hope this helps you compute. If you need more info let me know. THX!
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Postby Emeraldstar » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:15 pm

Hi All
Just curious, has anyone in this thred gotten additions to their agreements/lease saying they would be charged legal fees should they be incurred by LL?
TN & ronin please bear with me a moment. My bld has 140+ apts which are RS and this same legal fee thing is happening to neighbors. It seems to me there is a trend going on & the origins are the add ons to leases which I understand are not legal as well. At least in the case of RS. Am I on to something?
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Postby ronin » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:58 pm

Emeraldstar- it appears to be a trend because tenants are not fighting the fee add-ons and some lazy folk just go ahead and pay them. A good way to tell is to make a claim re fraud in regular civil court or small claims court (danger- small claims is so informal that the law may not be followed unless you appeal- and say NO to the arbitrator). In fraud you can seek a return of any money paid and treble damages for the attempt to defraud. Alternatively, the LL and his attorney can explain their legitimate fee add-ons (which ain't happening in the absence of a judge's order). And for the Civil Court action in fraud you would be free of any claim for attorney fees.

As for digital- yes, thank you for noticing. I think I was recently exposed to an old Star Trek episode with a similar phrase at it seems fitting for many recent circumstances.


As for Ruby- Although you are titled as a coop owner- as a Mitchell-Lama owner you are not allowed to sell for a profit, or at all. So therefore you are really a tenant (as are all coop owners actually) and need to think like one. In your case you have the free and easy HPD complaint system available, up to and including a hearing at HPD, to you to force your Board to remove fees etc. You should call and complain to HPD. I'm really doubting that HPD has ever authorized attorney's fees in any of these proceedings- the whole idea is that it is informal. Your lease is a product of law and regulation as much as RS leases are.

Good luck.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:06 pm

Hi All
Ronin- would civil court remove/declare the RS lease add ons as invalid/attempted fraud even if the tenant did not pay the fees?
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Postby Ruby » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:04 am

Thanks for the help ronin.
Re: my situation--- I've been taken to court too many times + felt the court usually did it's best to treat me fairly. I've rarely + recent past been taken to HPD for a hearing + found i am guilty till proven innocent there. I will take my chances in court where i feel that they presume my innocence + defer judgement untill the facts are revealed + use some of what i've learned from this site to defend myself. I look forward to telling you good things in the near future.
Any case law you can cite re:
Tenant awarded legal fees,
Landlord not due legal fees that were never awarded,
Landlord not due late fees from erroneous charges,
Anything else you think may help, it's appreciated.
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Re:

Postby asbandjls » Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:55 am

TenantNet wrote:Wrong web site. This is tenant.net, not coop-owner.net.

But you do have a point. Unless ordered by a court (for a tenant, that is), legal fees are not permitted.

Whether or not that's the case for coop owners, I can't say.

Maybe the cooperator.com might know.


The CoOp Board could charge lawyer fees to shareholders if the Proprietary Lease allows that but all bets are off if a Judge did not award/allow lawyer fees.

The Cooperator monthly magazine could answer this and many lawyers advertise there who specialize in CoOp related legal issues.

If the CoOp Board had to pay legal fees, they could cover that from their insurance policy.
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