CAI Rebuts Misleading Opposition Arguments to Senate Bill 1282

Sep 14, 2016


CAI's Pennsylvania Legislative Action Committee (PA LAC) has been supporting legislation (Senate Bill 1282 / House Bill 1101) which would clarify the manner in which county Recorders of Deeds may assess fees regarding the amendment of declarations for condominiums, cooperatives or planned communities. The legislation prohibits the fairly recent practice of charging a “per parcel” recording fee against each unit in a common interest ownership community which has caused these transactions to skyrocket to unaffordable levels for the nearly 2.8 million Pennsylvanians living in condominiums and homeowner associations.  

CAI and other proponents of this legislation contend that charging per parcel fees, often amounting to thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars (even for a single document), is not only absurdly high but also illegal because the cost is not commensurate with the work required by county staff. These recording fees are 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… generates a profit for the Montgomery County General Fund.”)

Over the past week, opponents of the legislation have been reaching out to the legislature to urge the Bill's defeat. Letters of opposition from the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) and/or the Pennsylvania Recorder of Deeds Association (PRODA) have been sent to many members of the legislature. After a careful review of their position, CAI has determined that their collective body of correspondence is misleading and factually incorrect. CAI has offered a thoughtful and factual rebuttal to these organizations’ claims, point by point, and we have shared this with every member of the state House of Representatives.

In addition to factual mis-statements, opponents of the legislation have suggested that the homeowners who are the subject of these excessive fees are all wealthy individuals living in gated communities who can afford the fees. The reality is that many of the Pennsylvanians who live in a condominium, cooperative or homeowner association across the state are middle class working families, including many condo owners who are first time home buyers, young families living in town home communities and retirees on fixed incomes who have downsized to an age-restricted community. To suggest that only wealthy people live in community associations is simply not true, and serves to divert attention from the underlying fact that we believe these fees are nothing more than an unjustified and illegal tax on community associations.

Click here for more information on this legislation and CAI's position. 

For information on how to contact your state representative to voice support for the Bill, click here. 

 


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