Can I be charged association fees if I did not agreed to be responsible for them?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be charged association fees if I did not agreed to be responsible for them?

I purchased a boat condominium dock 11 years ago; it was bought through a state auction. At the time, I paid $200 for it and I was just given a quick claim deed. I went to look at the property and realized that I didn’t like it, so I tried to return it but they would not allow me. Then, 2 years later, I started receiving association fees in excess of $1,200 per year. Now, 10 years later, they’re trying to sue me for over $10,000. However, I never signed association or agreement to be part of this boat marina or any of those facilities. It was never stated that when I purchased it, either in writing or verbally, that these assessment fees were attached to water dock condominium. Can I legally receive $10,000 for me without me ever entering a contract if it is not stated in the deed that I have purchased, Or in writing?

Asked on June 29, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you owe the fees. The fees apply to all property covered by the association, regardless of how you acquired it (bought from owner, tax sale, foreclosure, inheritance, gift, etc.). That you did not "agree" to pay the fees is incorrect: in taking/acquiring the land/property covered by them, you agreed to the fees. No one had to warn you about them; in a tax sale, you buy the property subject to all fees, disputes, legal issues, etc. on it, and it is your obligation to do your "due diligence" and look into this before bidding on the land. 
Your best bet may well be to try to settle with them; they may take a  portion of the fees if you agree to pay them voluntarily rather than forcing them to go through with the lawsuit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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