Homeowner Associations (HOAs) impose monthly fees on owners which are designed to cover upkeep and repairs to the common areas of the development. The fees can be used to pay for security, landscaping, maintenance of community facilities, and more. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to assess special fees for unexpected emergency repairs like flooding or roof repairs to a community building.
Members in an HOA are obligated to pay the monthly fees and special assessments when they are imposed. Different HOA organizations may have their own internal procedures in place for when owners want to challenge special assessments. It may become necessary to retain a Florida HOA assessment collection lawyer to represent the HOA in court or during a board meeting when a unit owner is challenging an assessment.
Here are five things to know about collecting unpaid HOA assessments and fees in Florida.
You Can Take Away Common Area Privileges Until They are Paid
While this won’t earn you any points with the property owner, it might be a viable option to get the fees paid. This is often especially effective with properties that are being rented out as the tenants will be complaining to the landlord that they suddenly cannot use the common area facilities.
You Could Be Responsible for the Owners’ Legal Fees
Florida law will allow the HOA to seek reimbursement of the association’s legal fees and costs in cases of delinquent assessment payments. However, the reverse is also true. In the event the HOA fails to follow Florida law, the homeowner or condo owner could seek reimbursement of their legal fees and costs.
New Condo Owners Could be Liable for Old Assessments Under Prior Owner
If the condo is auctioned in a foreclosure sale and the assessments were not paid, the HOA may not be completely out of luck. The law in Florida regarding condo associations states that new owners are jointly and severally liable for unpaid assessments regardless of how title was acquired.
Florida Law Allows You to File a Lien
Florida Statutes §720.3085 allows the HOA to file a lien against the homeowner who is delinquent in paying their assessments. As the HOA, you must follow certain procedural requirements in order to file a claim of lien against the delinquent assessments. This is one of the many reasons it’s important to speak with a Florida HOA unpaid assessment attorney who can help you through this complex process.
Florida HOA Attorneys Can Help with More Than Collecting Unpaid Assessment Fees
Retaining a Florida HOA attorney can help with a variety of HOA related tasks and legal issues. Collecting unpaid assessments is vital to protecting your association and the members’ property values. Not to mention, it’s only fair to those members who are paying their assessments on time.
Attorneys who specialize in HOA laws can help issue special assessments, seize property, and help file liens and assessment lien foreclosures, bank mortgage foreclosure actions, and more. At Pincus & Currier LLP, we have experience in helping West Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County HOAs with all aspects of community association law. Contact our West Palm Beach office at 561-868-1340 to schedule a consultation.