Question: I recently purchased a unit in a condominium community. Half of the units are two-bedroom units and half are three-bedroom units. However, assessments are shared equally. I do not think I should have to subsidize insurance, repairs, and maintenance for the larger units, as I own a two-bedroom unit. I would like to bring… Continue Reading
A recent case demonstrates how important it is to carefully consider what documentation to use in connection with allocation of the use of parking spaces. In Keane v. The President Condominium Association, Inc., the court sided with the association after it revoked a parking license. Here the unit owner, Mr. Keane, paid the association $5,000… Continue Reading
Question: My association doesn’t accept credit card payments because they don’t want the whole association to bear the service charge expenses for just a few owners. Can they charge back the costs to the owners who use the service? Can they charge a flat ‘convenience fee’ like our city and county offices do? F.L. (via… Continue Reading
Question: I am a “snowbird” and only use my condo for six months a year. I would like to pay only for the water I use. Can I install a water meter at my own expense and only pay for the months I am in residence? I do not feel that it is fair for… Continue Reading
Question: We have a unit in our condominium that will soon go to a mortgage foreclosure auction. This unit owes the association tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid assessments. What is the maximum amount we can recover from the purchaser at the foreclosure sale, as I have been given conflicting advice? S.S. (via e-mail)… Continue Reading
Question: Our condominium assessments are based on the square footage of our units rather than being divided equally amongst all of the owners. However, the voting right equals one vote per unit. Is this permissible? Can we amend our condominium documents to make everything equal? B.H. (via e-mail) Answer: The Florida Condominium Act mandates how… Continue Reading
About 2 ½ years ago I wrote about a case involving the Wellesley at Lake Clark Shores HOA which lost out on collecting close to $2,000 in interest and late fees and also lost out on collecting a whopping $10,000 in attorney’s fees due to bad recordkeeping. The Court, in that case, said that the… Continue Reading
Court explains “safe harbor” and says: “individualized charges, such as interest, late fees, collection costs and attorney’s fees do not fit within the statutory or common sense understanding of “regular periodic assessments” A little more than a year ago there was a huge debate over the interpretation of the “safe harbor” language in §718.116, Florida… Continue Reading
Question: Is it legal for a condominium association publicly post the names and unit numbers of homeowners who are late on their assessment payments? M.V. (via e-mail) Answer: In my opinion, no. Chapter 559.72(14) of the Florida Statutes, known as the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, generally prohibits the publication of “dunning lists.” However, the… Continue Reading
Question: Our association wants to charge a late fee for delinquent assessments. Is this legal? M.C. (via e-mail) Answer: All of Florida’s housing laws (Chapter 718 for condominium associations, Chapter 719 for cooperative associations, and Chapter 720 for homeowners’ associations) provide that the authority to charge a late fee must be contained in the declaration,… Continue Reading
Question: I read your recent article regarding homeowners’ associations and the new law permitting recovery of unpaid assessments. How does this work if the current owner is under water with his mortgage and the HOA takes title subject to the mortgage? J.M. (via e-mail) Answer: You are referring to the July 1, 2013 amendment to… Continue Reading
Question: I would like to know what rights a Florida homeowners’ association has to enforce collection of assessment from the individual members. I believe the Florida Statutes say something about late fees and interest, but can they place a lien on my property even if the amount owed is minimal? Also, can the association pass… Continue Reading
The Palm Beach County Circuit Court recently issued an Administrative Order requiring lawyers to account for their foreclosure cases and move them along. Administrative Order 3.313-2/13 requires the attorneys foreclosing against properties to identify all cases filed in the 15th Judicial Circuit according to the following deadlines: Case Filed Deadline for Filing Case Status Update… Continue Reading
The title of Christina Aguilera’s pop cd can take on a special meaning for condo and HOA directors who are unaware of what can happen when a delinquent member declares bankruptcy. In two recent decisions, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida, reiterated its position that a lien against an owner’s principal residence for… Continue Reading
Association becomes liable for past due assessments upon acquisition of title. According to Bankrate.com., in 2012 it took an average of 382 days for a lender to complete a mortgage foreclosure in the United States. However, that statistic includes states with the non-judicial foreclosure procedures and states that have very few foreclosures. Florida is not one of… Continue Reading
Question: In your column of January 16, 2011, you addressed two issues: (1) whether an owner who is past due in his assessments may serve on the board as a director; and (2) whether an association can suspend the voting rights of a member who is delinquent in the payment of assessments. My understanding is… Continue Reading
Question: Does a purchaser at a tax deed sale owe all the delinquent association assessments that accrued prior to the tax deed sale? You have previously mentioned that the condominium statute states that every owner is liable for the delinquency of his predecessor in title, with the exception of a foreclosing first mortgage. Would that mean that a… Continue Reading
Question: We recently had a foreclosure sale of a home in our community. The bank took title at the sale and is now the owner. The bank has said they are not liable for any of the prior owner’s unpaid assessments. We have demanded the bank pay one year of assessments and they have refused…. Continue Reading
Obviously over the past few years association leaders have had to devote a substantial amount of time, energy, effort and money to collecting delinquent assessments. However, where there is need there is opportunity. New businesses sprung up all over the U.S. to take advantage of this need. Collection agencies, funding companies and others promise condo & HOA board members… Continue Reading
FHA issued a new Mortgagee Letter last week. It requires foreclosing lenders to recognize and communicate with a community association, especially if the association already liened the property. Condominium and Homeowners’ Association leaders often complain about lack of payment on the part of mortgagees that take title as a result of the foreclosure. Many of them are not willing to wait… Continue Reading
The state/federal settlement means over $8 million in value to Florida.
HOAs are being sued in federal court for charging more fees, costs and assessments than permitted by law.
Fannie Mae announced that it requires servicers to ensure any priority liens for delinquent Condo & HOA assessments are cleared immediately, but no later than 30 days, after the foreclosure sale or acceptance of a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.
The largest title insurance company in Florida (Attorneys’ Title Fund Services, LLC, also known as “The Fund”) recently published an opinion by its underwriting counsel cautioning attorneys and title insurance companies against closing and insuring any transaction where the association’s title was obtained through a “mortgage terminator” lawsuit. What is a “mortgage terminator” lawsuit?… Continue Reading