Many condos charge illegally high application fees

Miami attorney Jason Kellogg
Miami attorney Jason Kellogg

A Miami Herald investigation shows that many condominium associations in South Florida charge potential residents application fees higher than legal limit.

State law allows condo associations to charge a maximum nonrefundable fee of $100 to cover such costs as interviews and checks on credit history.

But nearly half of condos listed for sale in Miami-Dade County include application fees in excess of $100, according to the Herald’s analysis of a Realtors database.

Jason Kellogg, a Miami attorney specializing in condo association law, told the Herald the state law prohibiting condo application fees over $100 is unambiguous.

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“The cost of owning or renting a condo in South Florida is expensive enough without associations fleecing residents with illegal fees,” he told the newspaper.

The Herald reported that many South Florida condo associations charge unit buyers and renters application fees from $125 to $625, and that these violations are happening in Broward County, too, but are less prevalent than in Miami-Dade.

In addition to illegally high application fees, new residents also pay some condo associations moving-in fees, one-time pet fees and other charges that can add up to hundreds of dollars.

Attorneys say the situation could lead to class-action suits against condo associations.

El Nuevo Herald recently reported that some South Florida condo associations engage in corrupt activities, including rigging elections and using unfair bidding procedures to award contracts.[Miami Herald] — Mike Seemuth