No. 777 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Law, of Philadelphia at No. 2508 November Term 1980.
Jeffrey E. W. Matthew, Philadelphia, appellants, in pro. per.
Claire Rocco, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Wickersham, Brosky and Wieand, JJ.
[ 306 Pa. Super. Page 16]
A complaint in confession of judgment against the Matthews was filed by the Owners Association on November 17, 1980. Judgment was confessed pursuant to a warrant of attorney contained in the Code of Regulations of Society Hill Towers, a condominium. The complaint alleged that the Matthews bought a unit from Society Hill Associates, a limited partnership, and that the deed between the Matthews and Society Hill Associates subjects the Matthews to the Code of Regulations of Society Hill Towers. In turn, the Code of Regulations requires each unit owner to pay the Owners Association yearly assessments for their proportionate share of the common expenses as defined in the Declaration of Condominium for Society Hill Towers. The complaint further alleged that the Matthews failed to pay six months of installments on the yearly assessment and then failed to pay late charges; the total of installments due and late charges was $1534.38. Addition of attorney's fees, costs and interest brought the total sum allegedly due to $1724.42, for which sum judgment was duly confessed.
The Matthews filed a petition to strike or open judgment on December 22, 1980. They argued that the confessed judgment should be stricken because disputes between unit owners and the management of the condominium are governed by the Unit Property Act,*fn1 which provides for the collection of unpaid assessments by filing an action in assumpsit. The Matthews also asserted that their covenant to
[ 306 Pa. Super. Page 17]
pay the yearly assessments depended upon the Owners Association's performance of maintenance services; because the Matthews allegedly received no maintenance services they were not obliged to pay the yearly assessments.
In an order dated January 28, 1981 the Honorable Paul A. Tranchitella denied the Matthews' petition to strike or open judgment. The order was docketed on February 17, 1981 and this appeal timely followed. A sheriff's sale to satisfy the confessed judgment was scheduled, but the Matthews petitioned for a stay of the sale. A stay was granted upon condition that the Matthews post a $3400 bond. The bond was posted and the sale did not take place.*fn2
Jeffrey E.W. Matthew and Diane W. Matthew, his wife, purchased a unit in Society Hill Towers from Society Hill Associates, a limited partnership, on February 28, 1980. The Matthews bought a unit, 18 D-N, and a proportionate undivided interest in the common elements of Society Hill Towers. The deed from Society Hill Associates to the Matthews states that the purchase of unit 18 D-N was made pursuant to a recorded declaration plan (Supplemental Reproduced Record at 1b-22b) and a recorded code of regulations (Supplemental Reproduced Record at 23b-44b). Under the deed the Matthews agreed to pay charges arising from the maintenance of the common elements of Society Hill Towers as the charges were assessed by the elected Council of the Owners Association. (Reproduced Record at 28a-30a). The Matthews' acceptance of the deed also ratified and confirmed the grant of a power of attorney to confess judgment against them. (Reproduced Record at 29a).
The Matthews made various requests for maintenance services to the management of ...