State Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) has signaled his intent to introduce a Senate version of House Bill 1101, legislation which would reign in skyrocketing fees charged by some county Recorder of Deeds to file an amendment to a Declaration of Condominium, Planned Community or Cooperative.
Pursuant to the Pennsylvania's common interest ownership statutes (Title 68), 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 or planned community. And, for indexing amendments against each parcel number, these counties have adopted a “per parcel” fee. CAI has compiled the following examples of skyrocketing fees for recording a change to an association declaration:
County Association Declaration Changes Recording Fee
Bucks Villages of Flowers Mill Three page amendment $6,822
Chester Orchard Valley HOA Changes to conform with state law $1,862
Dauphin Meadows of Hanover Changes to sub associations $8,300
Montgomery Blue Bell Country Club Six page amendment $8,731
Montgomery Morgandale Condo Three page amendment to regulations $5,738
Many other counties around the Commonwealth have adopted similar fees. 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 or the UPCA. Additionally, in some instances Declaration amendments are required to comply with Federal law requirements, as in the case with FHA or FNMA regulations.
"This is a practice that needs to be stopped, and this bill will do exactly that," Wagner said in his co-sponsor memo. "This is a bi-partisan issue, as Representative Caltagirone has introduced similar legislation in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (House Bill 1101). This legislation enacts good government policy. Assessing confiscatory fees is a practice that should be discourage at any level of government, whether state, county or local," said Wagner. Read the full co-sponsor memo.
CAI supports adoption of House Bill 1101 and the Senate companion Bill which should be introduced soon in the State Senate.