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Where there is knowledge that a private community homeowners' association provides facilities and services for the benefit of community residents, the purchase of property there may manifest acceptance of conditions of ownership, among them payment for the facilities and services offered. The resulting implied-in-fact contract includes the obligation to pay a proportionate share of the full cost of maintaining those facilities and services, not merely the reasonable value of those actually used by any particular resident.
Defendant property owners purchased several homes in the private community but refused to pay any of the assessments, contending that they were nonmembers of the homeowners association and nonusers of the recreational facilities maintained by the homeowners association. Consequently, plaintiff homeowner association brought the present action to recover assessments for the years 1976 through 1984. After a five-day bench trial, the court awarded judgment for plaintiff, concluding that there was an implied contract to pay the assessments arising out of defendants' purchase of property with knowledge of the nature of the community and the conditions imposed upon ownership there. The Appellate Division affirmed, and granted leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals of New York.
Were the defendant property owners liable to pay assessments, notwithstanding the fact of their non-usage of the facilities?
The Court affirmed the judgments of the lower courts. The Court held that the issues of notice given by homeowners association and the property owners' actual or constructive knowledge were not subject to its review. The Court reasoned that those issues were largely factual and there was ample evidence in the record to support the findings of the trial court that the property owners knew the nature of the community and had impliedly accepted the conditions accompanying ownership of property in the community by their purchase.