Q&A: Random Fees on Financial Statements

Q I was wondering if you had any information about whether a co-op management company is required by law to answer questions about random fees appearing on a monthly statement. I've been struggling for 6 months with my management company and 1) they won't give me straight answers; 2) won't meet with me personally and only respond via email or phone, 3) only respond in vague statements that they cannot remove these fees, and 4) refuse to provide me with details as to what these fees are for. The fees are identified as miscellaneous fees.

—Frustrated in Framingham

A “In Massachusetts, under our Condominium Statute (M.G.L. c. 183A, §10(c)), in summary the management company for a condominium is responsible for keeping, inter alia, financial records,” says Mark Rosen, an attorney at Goodman, Shapiro & Lombardi LLC in Dedham, Massachusetts, include the following: 1.Records of all receipts and expenditures, invoices and vouchers authorizing payments, receivable, and bank statements relating thereto; 2.Records regarding the replacement reserve fund or any other funds; 3.Audits, reviews, accounting statements and financial reports relating to the finances of the organization of unit owners, i.e., the Board of Trustees, Governors, Managers or the like; and all current insurance policies for the Condominium.”

“These records are to be kept in an up-to-date manner within Massachusetts and shall be available for inspection and copying (at the unit owner’s expense) during regular business hours or by appointment.

“I note that the person who is seeking information on this issue resides in a co-op. The Massachusetts Condominium Statute does not apply to co-ops. The questioner would need to ascertain whether the jurisdiction he or she resides in, if not Massachusetts, has a similar law to M.G.L. c. 183A, §10(c). If not, in my opinion, this individual is entitled to know how his or her fees are spent and the management company should be more transparent and cooperative in providing him/her this information.”