"Homeowner Associations"

iStock_000015122897XSmall.jpgOften the 6 o’clock news highlights the plight of a homeowner fighting his or her homeowners’ association (HOA) because the association is enforcing a rule that the owner doesn’t like and claims to have been unaware existed. The rule was probably there all along had the homeowner read their association documents. Also in the course of everyday conversations in this economy, homeowners who have fallen behind on their assessments are asking, “Can my condo/homeowners’ association really evict me for just a few thousand dollars I owe?” Following are answers to five common questions owners ask, often when it’s too late, about purchasing and living in a community association:

1.  Can my association really “evict” me for unpaid assessments?

Yes, although it is not an eviction, but a foreclosure. In Florida, condominium associations, by law, and HOAs, if provided in their recorded documents, do have a lien to secure the payment of assessments, late fees, interest and attorneys’ fees and costs of collection.Continue Reading Top Five Questions About HOA/Condominium Associations

Fort Myers Condominiums.JPGIn 2010, the chapters of the Florida Statutes governing condominiums and homeowners associations were amended with the intention of providing community associations significantly more “teeth” to enforce collection of assessments from delinquent owners. Unfortunately, the new provisions contained several glitches which resulted in confusion for associations, owners, and community association practitioners. House Bill 1195 became effective July 1, 2011, with intent to remove such glitches and clarify provisions passed in 2010.

Prior to 2010, a homeowners’ association was permitted under Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes to suspend an owners’ right to use common areas and facilities for the violation of provisions of the association’s governing documents. The statue did not provide such a remedy for past due assessments. One of the glitches of the 2010 legislation unintentionally resulted in the removal of the ability of a homeowners’ association to suspend an owner’s rights to use common areas and facilities for violations of the governing documents. However, the right to suspend common area use rights was added as a potential remedy for nonpayment of monetary obligations owed to the Association which are more than 90 days delinquent.

For condominium associations, prior to the 2010 legislation, suspension of common element use rights was not provided as a remedy in the statutes at all. The 2010 legislation provided for suspension of common elements and facilities as a potential remedy only for 90 day delinquencies, not for other violations of the governing documents. However, the statutory provisions providing for the hearing procedures required for suspending use rights, did reference the availability of common element use suspension as a remedy for other violations. These procedural provisions raised questions as to whether the right to suspend use of common elements and facilities was available for violations other than monetary delinquencies.

Homeowners’ Associations Right to Suspend

With the passing of House Bill 1195, a homeowners’ association may suspend the right of a member, or the member’s tenant, guest, or invitee, to use common areas and facilities both for failure to comply with any provision of the governing documents and for nonpayment ofContinue Reading Community Association Ability to Suspend Use and Voting Rights Clarified