In the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building in Harrisburg today, the Pennsylvania Senate voted 48-2 in favor of Senate Bill 1282 (R-Wagner). SB 1282 clarifies the manner in which county Recorders of Deeds may assess fees regarding the amendment of declarations for condominiums, cooperatives or planned communities.
CAI thanks Senator Wagner and the Senate for their support of this legislation.
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. The Bill now moves to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. No action is expected from the House before the Fall.