Real estate Q&A: The association says I missed payments. I say I didn’t. Now what?

Q: For the last several months, my condo association has accused me of missing two payments from several years ago that they apparently just discovered. I paid my dues with online bill pay and provided the association with proof of payment for those two months. The property manager is still asking for the “missed” payments and refuses to give me a copy of my account ledger. What can I do? — Ira

A: Your question highlights the need for keeping good records. Now that you are being accused of not paying your dues, the onus is on you to prove that you did.

Association maintenance payments are applied to the oldest outstanding amount due. This means the payment you make in October will be applied to a payment missed in May, along with late fees and collection costs. This procedure cause confusion and further problems because you think you are paying October, but your association feels you are just catching up on an earlier missed payment.

Because of this, you will need to do more than show them only the two payments they claim you did not pay.

Gather proof of monthly payments going back before the payments they claim you missed. Check to see you paid every month.

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If you did, provide management with proof you made all of those payments and politely demand they correct their ledger.

If it turns out that you missed earlier payments, write a check for the overdue amounts before the problem gets worse.

Your community must provide you with a copy of your ledger, and there are penalties for them refusing to do so. It is also suspicious that the property manager does not want to.

Speak to a board member and let them know what is happening, especially after you prove you are current with your dues.

Most property managers are honest and hardworking, but there are always exceptions to every rule, and no one likes to admit their mistakes.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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