If you are a Florida resident who lives in a community (or building) that has a homeowners’ association (HOA) or condominium association (COA), you are not alone. According to some recent estimates, Florida has nearly 50,000 community associations that provide services and collect fees from more than 9 million state residents.
Of course, there are pros and cons to this type of arrangement. For example, condo associations are particularly common in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and throughout South Florida. These associations generally provide their residents with access to certain amenities – such as community pools and fitness facilities, as well as services, like laundry or cleaning. On the other hand, these benefits aren’t free – and failure to pay the HOA or COA dues/fees can have dire consequences. Specifically, Florida laws allow the HOA or COA to place a lien and even foreclose on your home or condo unit – EVEN IF ITS YOUR PRIMARY RESIDENCE!
However, applicable Florida statutes stipulate that the managing bodies of these communities cannot pursue these options without first providing you with fair warning. For example, an HOA must send you a written notice informing you of its intent to record a lien against your property if you do not pay all amounts due within 45 days. Similarly, a COA in Florida must also provide you with written notice of its intent to file a lien on your unit if you don’t make all required payments within 30 days.
If you fail to make the required the payment by the specified deadline, Florida statutes allow the HOA or COA to include the following in any liens filed:
- Unpaid assessments
- Late charges
- Legal costs, including attorneys fees
Legally, you have the right to contest, or challenge the lien by serving the association with a document called a “Notice of Contest of Lien.” Doing so will force the association to enforce the lien within three months (90 days). If it doesn’t do so, the lien will be void.
Likewise, if you pay off the association within the 30 or 45-day timeframe given in the required notice, you cannot be foreclosed on and the association will generally be precluded from recouping attorney’s fees and/or costs.
On the other hand, if you default on your HOA/COA dues or special assessments, the association is legally permitted to foreclose on your house or condo by taking you to court. Contrary to popular belief, the association can even do so if you have been making all of your mortgage payments in full and on time.
If you are facing a COA or HOA foreclosure in Florida and have questions about your legal rights and obligations, don’t leave anything to chance. Contact the knowledgeable business and real estate lawyers at Capital Partners Law today.
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- Call us toll-free at (833) 7-CAPLAW.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader nor should it be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact our firm.