Q&A: Back-Billing Mistake?

Q. I live in a Riverdale cooperative. One of my fellow shareholders received a notice at the beginning of January from our management company saying her monthly carrying charge would be increased beginning the next month. There was no explanation. She says management did not return her phone calls for an explanation regarding this.

Toward the end of January, management advised her that her maintenance (as well as the maintenance of some other shareholders) had been miscalculated for many years (!) and aside from the corrected (higher) monthly charge, they would all have to pay the back difference as well.

The shareholder posted this situation on our basement bulletin board and asked for others who received management’s letter to get in touch with her. She did not say she got in touch with our board, or that she put her questions and/or objections in writing to the board or management. I’m guessing the shareholder does not have a computer, since the notice she posted on our bulletin board was handwritten. Also, to be clear, I have never spoken to her about the situation.

I have lived in this cooperative for over 50 years, and have never heard of a situation such as this. Also, I don’t know the monthly difference; maybe it’s a few dollars, or maybe considerably more. Regardless, it seems to me that something is very wrong here; in fact, billing for the back carrying charges sounds illegal, as this was management’s mistake, not the shareholder’s. So my question is: Can management back-bill for the difference for so long a period of time?

— Sensing Something Is Amiss

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