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Condo Board President Lashes Out At NJ Homeowners Over Surprise Maintenance Bills

WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Some condominium owners in New Jersey are frustrated and want to sell their homes.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, they've been unable to sell due to an unexpected fee from their association.

Members of the Eagle Ridge condo community in West Orange were panicked over a bill they received to replace the siding on their homes.

"Nobody has this money. It's someone's college education, size of a down payment, a car, in fact my neighbor who is out on disability right now has to sell her car because of this," Barbara Mintz said.

Residents in Section 3 were given a notice that it would cost an average of $30,000 for the siding, per home. On the back were payment options which many residents said will not help them in this situation.

"They're telling people it's their best interest if they seek a line of credit against their home. I have a son who is getting ready to graduate high school. I have a parental responsibility for his education, any equity out of this home is to educate my son," Nyree Lugo said.

Homeowners were told the siding needs to be replaced because the condos were not built properly in the 1980s.

"I told them I can't afford it. It's hard on me, it's a hardship," Derrick Jenkins said.

Legal expert Frank Marciano said it's the elected board of trustees' responsibility to maintain common elements.

"The board does not have obligation to provide info on everything they do," Marciano said.

This is because the residents elected them to be their representatives.

"I feel that as homeowners we have our hands tied behind our backs and they are not doing what is best for us as a community," Lugo said.

Marciano said it's the downside of condo living.

"When people are buying a condo it's very important to see who the builder was, do they have a track record" Marciano said.

The President of the Board of Trustees, David Kesselhaut would not go on camera, but said the project will start April 4. When he found out residents had spoken with CBS2 he left a voice mail for them.

"You have an awful lot of nerve to call Channel 2 News, point them to my house, and ring my bell," he said, "The project is going forward whether you like it or not. If you choose not to pay, a lien will be put on your house."

Marciano said if you want to stay in control of your property get involved with the association yourself.

Eagle Ridge residents pay $500 to $800 each month in maintenance fees.


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