Tens of thousands of Florida residents live in neighborhoods governed by a homeowners association (HOA) or in a condo subject to rules set and enforced by a condominium association. In most cases, a HOA or condo board assesses a monthly fee to cover the costs of maintaining communal spaces. The more amenities there are, the higher this monthly fee will be.
Individual property owners must pay their mortgage and utility costs while also budgeting to pay monthly HOA fees as well. Your association depends on those funds to maintain community spaces, but not everyone can afford those fees. Others may be upset about a change in HOA policy or amenities and try to withhold funds as a form of protest.
When a tenant falls behind, you may need to engage in collection activity. If they sell the property before you secure a lien for those fees or they die and transfer the ownership to a family member, do you lose the right to collect on those past due fees?
The amount due transfers with the property
Since there are so many homes in communities governed by HOAs and condominium associations in Florida, there are state laws addressing these exact issues. In Florida, unpaid HOA fees not yet attached to the property via a lien won’t prevent a sale of the property or a transfer as part of probate proceedings.
However, the balance owed by the prior owner transfers to the new owner. The new owners, whether they purchased the home or inherited it, will need to pay the past-due fees or be subject to the same collection activities that you could have pursued against the previous owner.
You may have to go to court
Often, the new owners of a property will be eager to address any blemishes that could imperil their investments in it, but that isn’t always the case. If the new owner is as reticent as the prior owner to pay those past-due fees, you may need to go to court. Securing a lien against the property can prevent another transfer from taking place before the owners pay what they owe info.
Learning more about the rules that apply to HOA properties can help your association get the money it needs to maintain the community.