Condominiums in Florida are created by a condominium declaration. Declarations must meet the requirements set by laws and regulations and be subject to national approval. Condominium associations rely on ratings from unit owners to pay their bills. Each condo declaration contains provisions addressing evaluations, but Florida law governs the process.
Congress deals with valuations and liens in some detail. The statute seeks to provide common procedures and rights for both owners and associations, primarily to prevent abuse by associations. Section 718.116 Florida law is the primary legislative effort to address assessments.
The law requires that the owner retain all valuations due while he was the owner, and all valuations that were due by the time of the I confirm that I am responsible for the unpaid valuation of Owner took the title. This can be very shocking to anyone who bought a property with a mortgage foreclosure and later realized there was a sizeable outstanding valuation balance due to the Association. This law limits a mortgage owner’s liability for valuations that are due before the mortgagee acquires the title to 12 months of valuation or 1% of the original mortgage debt, whichever is less. , makes an exception for first mortgage owners who acquire title through foreclosure. However, even the mortgagee who obtains the mortgage is liable for assessments that are due after title is obtained.
Any assessments not paid by the due date will be subject to interest at the rate stated on the return. If no interest rate is stated on the return, interest will accrue at the rate of 18% per annum. Many associations simply apply that 18% figure to delinquency assessments without reading their own declarations. Some older declarations set interest rates at 6% or less. The law allows late fees, but the maximum late fee is $25 or 5% of each late valuation. For the avoidance of controversy, the law also requires that payments received by the association shall apply first to accrued interest, then to late fees, and then to recovery of costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees, unless these items are It also stipulates that it applies only after all delinquency assessments have been paid. .
The law confirms that the association has a lien on each lot to secure appraisal payments. For a lien to be valid, it must be recorded in public records. The lien must state the condominium lot, association name and address, amount owed and due date. The lien is only valid for one year after registration, unless the association files an action to seize the lien within that period.
Association liens are seized in the same way as mortgages. Alternatively, the Association may sue the owner for unpaid valuations without waiving the lien claim. The Association shall be entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees in either litigation against lien or unpaid valuation.
The legislature has done its best to ensure that unit owners are informed of valuations, potential liens, and risks of non-payment before the Association pursues recovery. By law, the association must send the invoice for the assessment to the parcel owner’s address held in the association’s official records. The Association shall not be liable for the payment of attorneys’ fees in connection with an overdue assessment unless it first sends a written notice of late assessment to the Unit Owner specifying the amount owed to the Association and providing the opportunity to pay without an assessment of attorneys’ fees. cannot be requested. Notice of late evaluation must be sent to the owner’s address in the records of the association, and if the address is not the unit, it must also be sent to the unit by first class mail.
The Association is prohibited from filing a lien foreclosure action against a condominium unit until 45 days after sending a certified mail notice of intent to file the foreclosure to the owner of the unit. The notice must be sent to the owner’s address in the records of the association, or, if not the unit’s address, by first class mail to the unit. If the association has not sent notice of delay in assessment, even if it hires an attorney to serve the lien notice, the owner will not be entitled to pay the amount owed to the association during the 45-day pre-seizure notice period. cannot claim attorney’s fees. period.
If the Association fails to provide timely 45 days’ notice prior to foreclosure, the Association may be liable for attorneys’ fees or costs if the Owner pays all appraisals owed to the Association before a court judgment of foreclosure is rendered. collection is also prohibited.
The primary purpose of legislative legislation is to protect owners by requiring associations to give owners extensive notice before any collection takes place. Congress did not overlook the possibility of an abusive owner. If a delinquent owner has a tenant, the association may provide the tenant with a notice requesting the tenant to pay rent to the association rather than the owner. Tenants are exempt from liability to owners from paying rent to the union. If the lessee does not pay the rent to the association on time, the association can evict the tenant as well as the owner.
If the unit has tenants during a lien foreclosure, the association can ask the court to appoint a trustee to collect the rent. If the owner continues to own the unit after the foreclosure ruling, the court can require the owner to pay the rent for the unit.
Many associations make mistakes in their lien process. Many people fail to send notice of late evaluations and try to collect attorney fees when an association attorney sends a lien letter. Others charge 18% interest on overdue assessments even if the declaration mandates a lower amount. All of these mistakes can be avoided if the association adopts procedures after reviewing declarations and statutory requirements with an association attorney.
William G. Morris is the principal of William G. Morris, Pennsylvania William G. Morris and his office have represented clients in Collier County for over 30 years. His practice includes litigation and divorce, business law, estate planning, associations, and real estate. The information in this column is general and is not intended as legal advice.