Atlantic Station condo owner: HOA fees more than mortgage - CBS46 News

Atlantic Station condo owner: HOA fees cost more than mortgage

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

A new homeowners association fee increase for some condominium owners in Atlantic Station would force them to pay 54 percent more each month, plus additional new fees.

For homeowner Tyler Hastings, that means he will pay hundreds more in HOA fees than his mortgage.

"My monthly payments were $563 a month," Hastings said. "With the new company that has taken over, my new fees have gone to about $1,200 a month."

An Atlanta-based company called Cocke Finkelstein, Inc. recently bought the building in which Hastings lives, the ATL Lofts.

The company bought 105 units, making it the majority property holder, so the company was able to raise HOA fees without approval from other owners.

"With the majority, they're able to do whatever they want, so they're trying to force out the remaining 46 or so owners," Hastings said.

But Cocke Finkelstein, which plans on renting out its 105 units because of the bleak "condoconomy," said that it isn't trying to push out owners.

Todd McKissick, the new HOA president at the condominium buildings, happens to work for Cocke Finkelstein. 

He said the fee increases were necessary to pay off unpaid bills accrued while the buildings were under the care of a bank.

"We're trying to help," McKissick said. "But these bills have got to be paid. We inherited these. We didn't create them."

One of the largest bills causing the increase is the "master association fee," which is a fee imposed by Atlantic Station.

McKissick said much of that fee was left unpaid for the past several years and that sometimes capital reserve money was used to pay it, leaving virtually no reserves left.

"If the master association fees don't get paid, (residents) leave the buildings. They would get kicked out, they would get foreclosed," McKissick said. "I can't allow that to happen."

McKissick could not explain what the master association fees cover for the residents.

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