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Ask an Expert: I can't sell my condo because the sponsor didn't file taxes last year

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Q. I  bought my apartment at the peak of the real estate bubble, a nice condo penthouse apartment in Williamsburg for $575,000. Last spring, due to the economic crisis, I needed  to reduce my expenses, so I decided to try to sell it.  After  months on the market, I finally found someone really motivated who loved my apartment and they applied for a mortgage. 

The management of my building is also the owner. It was a struggle to get them to provide the bank with the necessary documents. Toward the end of the deal, when the bank requested the last 2 year's audited financial statements of the building or a tax report, the management avoided in every way to submit it. 

The owner never answered the phone and the manager avoided any contact. Later on I found out that they did not file any taxes this past year. 

After a month of me on harassing the manager's secretary, the bank got fed up, refused a mortgage to the buyer, and the buyer started to look for another property. Now I don't have a buyer and I'm basically stuck with my property, unable to sell if I know that they won't give me the paper that by law they need to provide as a condo apartment owner.

Since then I have been trying to find a tough lawyer to help me. I have contacted at least five real estate attorneys, but none of them were interested in my case.  What are my options?

A.  According to BrickUnderground legal expert Jeffrey Reich, you could file a complaint with the New York State Attorney General's office if the managing agent is an affiliate of your sponsor's. Regardless, your most effective option right now is alerting your fellow owners to the fact that tax returns haven't been prepared or filed.

"Whether they are selling or not, this failure would be a cause for concern.  Collectively, the unit owners may be able to retain an attorney to compel the agent to meet its obligations," says Reich.  

 


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