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Get Your Greasy Hands Off My Move-In Fee

Howard Beach

Fee Refunds
April 13, 2016

Anyone who has ever tried to buy into a co-op knows all about that dirty little four-letter word fees. One potential buyer in a co-op in Howard Beach, Queens, paid the usual ration of fees, including a $500 move-in fee. But when the co-op board rejected his application, it refused to refund the fee. This led the frustrated applicant to pose a reasonable question to the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times: "Why isn’t the move-in fee refundable?"

Applying to live in a co-op is a daunting experience, came the reply, especially the fees and the interview. But boards that charge a rejected applicant a move-in fee for a move that never transpired are being particularly cruel – and possibly earning an invitation to a courtroom.

Attorney Stephen Lasser advises spurned applicants to check the co-op’s application form. If it does not state that the move-in fee is nonrefundable, the rejected applicant can make the case that he or she is entitled to a refund. If a letter to the board and managing agent doesn’t produce results, the next stop for the board is Small Claims Court.

Smart boards will let go of the fee. Absolutely anything beats a trip to Small Claims Court.

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