A new law firm referral service launched in late 2008 helps condo and home purchasers get out of their contracts and receive refunds on their deposits in cases where developers have not followed federal Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations. The referral service has seen a particularly high number of cases in Florida and New York, and it also works with lawyers in New Jersey, California, Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.
So far, the deposits refunded have ranged between $50,000 and $200,000, and pending cases could result in refunds above $500,000, said Aaron Eidelman, an attorney who reviews cases for No-condo.com. No examples are available because the cases are subject to confidentiality agreements, Eidelman said.
No-Condo.com’s staff lawyers review users’ cases for free and, if the lawyers believe the user has a legitimate claim, brings in a law firm to handle the case, Eidelman said. The case analyses are funded by the participating law firms. The law firms themselves are paid only if the attorney collects the client’s refund or renegotiates the condo purchase price.
Most of the service’s cases are for units at pre-construction condos, Eidelman said. HUD requires developers to give buyers a property report or to complete the condo within two years.
But “developers, in a rush to complete projects during the real estate boom, often neglected to follow HUD requirements and either failed to give a HUD property report to purchasers or failed to obligate themselves to complete unconditionally within two years,” Eidelman said.