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Judicial ruling challenges overcharging in Florida condos

Homeowners expect to see a lawyer twice in the span of possessing a house or condominium. The first time is when it is time to close on a home, and the second is when it is time for someone else to close while they are buying it. People often feel like something went wrong if a lawyer shows up some other time.

This is sometimes correct, and Florida's real estate history has often moved on lawsuits and changing regulations for changing times. A recent decision could affect thousands of condo owners in Miami and surrounding areas as it determined a violation of the Florida Condominium Act that may apply to many buildings.

The law prohibits condo associations from charging more than $100 per application to move into a leased unit, sometime called transfer fees. A couple sued the association of their Miami condo, which offered to pay $300,000 in a class action lawsuit to correct their illegal practice for several applicants.

"Associations have historically charged these fees to fatten their coffers even though they don't disclose them," said the attorney who represented the plaintiffs. "Most people will go ahead and pay $250 if it means getting their apartment quicker."

Although small overcharging instances may not seem that serious, challenging illegal real estate practices keeps the providers of homes honest and in compliance of Florida law. An attorney can help consult on the possibility of a lawsuit against a condo association, previous homeowner or other real estate figure. No one should have to deal with the consequences of bad deals alone.

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