Florida Condominium Law Blog


Condominium Assessment Liens in Florida, Part III: Assessment Foreclosure Actions

A condominium association may bring an action in its name to foreclose a lien for assessments in the manner a mortgage of real property is foreclosed, and it may also bring an action to recover a money judgment for the unpaid assessments. The association is entitled to recover its reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in either a lien foreclosure action or an action to recover a money judgment for unpaid assessments. See 718.116(6)(a). Condominium lien foreclosure is not subject to the alternative dispute resolution proceedings found under Section 718.1255, Florida Statutes, which means that the parties do not have to engage in mediation or arbitration. Read Full Post

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Community Association Members’ Right to Information

The right of a community association member to information differs slightly depending on whether the person is a member of a homeowners’ association or a condominium association. However, in analyzing a person’s right to information, it is important to understand that the relevant statutes are meant to balance the member’s access to information while protecting the association from a member whose requests are harassing (intentional or not). Read Full Post

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Condominium Assessment Liens in Florida, Part II: Perfecting Condominium Liens

The Florida Condominium Act sets forth the process and procedure for perfecting a condominium assessment lien for delinquent assessments. A condominium lien creates an interest in real property in favor of the association. In many instances, it has been said that the association has a “perpetual” right to lien, so long as the association remains in existence. The condominium lien will take its priority in right based on the date the declarations were recorded. Because Florida association liens require the inclusion of a legal description, and liens create real property rights, only attorneys who are members of The Florida Bar may draft liens. A non-Florida attorney’s preparation of a lien on Florida real property constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. This is so, even if the non-attorney is a licensed community association manager. See The Florida Bar re Advisory Opinion — Activities of Community Ass’n Managers, 681 So.2d 1119 (Fla. 1996). Read Full Post

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Is Your Association’s Declaration Stuck in the Past?

Florida’s community associations are largely governed by two main sources of authority: (1) the Florida Condominium Act (for condo associations) and the Florida HOA Act (for homeowners’ associations); and (2) the association’s governing documents. While court opinions, State of Florida arbitration decisions and the Florida Administrative Code also govern community associations, these sources largely rely on the Florida Statutes, association governing documents, or both, for any given issue. Concerning the hierarchy of this authority, the Florida Condominium Act and the Florida HOA Act (collectively referred to as the “Acts”) will trump community association documents (i.e., declarations, bylaws, articles of incorporation and rules and regulations). Stated another way, the Acts ultimately have the final say if the governing documents are silent or contradict the Acts on any issue. Because association documents are subordinate to the Acts, an association’s declaration that does not contain Kaufman Language is stuck in the past. Read Full Post

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Condominium Assessment Liens in Florida, Part I: Authority for Condominium Liens

A condominium association’s governing documents in conjunction with Section 718.116, Florida Statutes, are the genesis of the condominium association’s authority to impose and perfect assessment liens against individually owned units and parcels within the community. This four-part blog will discuss the condominium association’s right to lien, perfecting the condominium association lien, and collection practices for condominium associations. Part I will discuss the condominium association’s authority for asserting liens. Read Full Post

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Your Homeowners’ Association May Not Be Taking Advantage of a Favorable Tax Break

A major expense for many homeowners’ and condominium owners’ associations is the cost of the utilities for common areas of the communities. The good news for such associations, however, is that they are entitled to an exemption for the sales tax related to their utilities as long as a few requirements are met—a fact of which many associations are not even aware. Read Full Post

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Does Your Association’s Declaration Preclude Any Recovery From Foreclosing Lenders?

After the housing bubble collapse, the Florida Legislature ratified numerous amendments to the Florida Condominium Act and Homeowners’ Association Act to provide associations with more power in collecting past-due assessments. One amendment obligated lenders that foreclose on properties owing past-due assessments to pay, at the very least, a certain statutory amount to the governing association (see Fla. Stat. §§ 718.116; 720.3085). Nevertheless, if an association’s declaration waives any and all liability of a mortgage lender, then that association is precluded from collecting even the statutorily approved amount. The pressing question for all board members and community association managers is whether or not your governing documents allow your association to collect from foreclosing lenders. If not, your association could be missing out on thousands of dollars. Read Full Post

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Community Association Managers Beware: Unlicensed Practice of Law

Community Association Managers (CAMS) in Florida are vital to the survival of condominium associations and homeowners’ associations. Associations and their board members rely on CAMS to ensure the associations run smoothly. CAMS must be licensed through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and are governed by the Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code. See Fla. Stat. 468.431-461.438 and Florida Administrative Code 61E14-2.001.
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5 Prudent Actions a Community Association Should Consider When Navigating Turnover

Whether your community association is a Homeowners Association, governed by Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, or is a Condominium Association, governed by Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, there are important things the Community Association Board (hereinafter the “Board”) should know and important … Read Full Post

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Condominium Associations Suffer Financially When Failing to Amend Their Declarations

By Hans C. Wahl, Esq. In 2014 the Florida Condominium Act (the “Act”) was amended to make it easier for Condominium Associations to recover past-due assessments from third-party purchasers at a mortgage foreclosure sale.  The longstanding Florida law is that … Read Full Post

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