Senate Committee Advances Recording Fees Legislation

Jun 23, 2016

Yesterday the Senate Urban Affairs Committee reported Senate Bill 1282 (R-Wagner) from committee on a vote of 10-1. SB 1282 would clarify the manner in which county Recorders of Deeds may assess fees regarding the amendment of declarations for condominiums, cooperatives or planned communities.

CAI thanks Sen. Wagner and committee members for their support of this legislation and is now requesting the support of all Senators when SB 1282 is considered by the full Senate.  

Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act (UCA), Real Estate Cooperative Act (RECA) and the Uniform Planned Community Act (UPCA), all amendments to a declaration must be recorded. Unfortunately, what has historically been an administrative act at minimal expense has become a large financial burden. A number of counties have implemented a requirement to index each amendment against each parcel number in the condominium, cooperative or planned community.  For indexing amendments against each parcel number, these counties have adopted a “per parcel” recording fee. In some cases, the fee is as high as $10 or $15 per home in the community association. CAI has compiled the following examples of skyrocketing fees for recording a change to an association declaration:

County          Association                       Declaration Changes                                  Recording Fee

Monroe          Lake Naomi Association     Deed restriction for Tier III Sex Offenders       $18,000.00

Bucks            Villages of Flowers Mill       Three page amendment                                   $ 6,822.00

Chester          Orchard Valley HOA           Changes to conform to state law                    $ 1,862.00

Dauphin         Meadows of Hanover          Changes to sub associations                         $ 8,300.00

Montgomery   Blue Bell Country Club        Six page amendment                                    $ 8,731.00

                      Morgandale Condo             Three page amendment to regulations          $ 5,738.00


Many other counties around the Commonwealth have adopted similar fees, increasingly viewed as government profits, as openly referred to on the Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds’ website (see www.montcopa.org/rod: “The Recorder of Deeds Office is self-sufficient and generates a profit for the Montgomery County General Fund.”) Such fees are not only absurdly high; they bear no relation to the work required to record documents.  Moreover, as recording is a legal requirement, such fees could prevent associations from complying with the UCA, RECA or the UPCA.  Additionally, in some instances Declaration amendments are required to comply with Federal law requirements, as in the case with Federal Housing Administration or Federal National Mortgage Association regulations.

CAI supports legislation to bring filing fees down to reasonable levels, and to prevent counties from imposing these exorbitant charges. Please contact your state senator and urge him or her to support Senate Bill 1282 when it comes to vote before the full Senate. Click here to find contact information for your state senator.

 


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