Published October 27, 2023
Huge increases in monthly maintenance fees caused by insurance
premiums and statutory requirements like inspections and
mandatory reserve funding (SB 154) will cause quite a few owners
to default on their maintenance fees. Add special assessments –
necessary due to failure of fully funding reserves in the past –
and we will see the foreclosure attorneys working overtime.
Hopefully we will not see a similar foreclosure avalanche like
we saw in 2007/2008. But I’m sure the foreclosure attorneys are
already licking their chops!
But this is the disadvantage when you
own property in a community association: You have to pay more if
your neighbors fail to pay, because the association has to pay
the bills, no matter how many owners fail to pay. The folks
still able to pay have to make up for the deficit caused by
non-payment of dues by other owners. And in case you don’t
remember: This caused even more owners to default. Property
values are quickly going down – who wants to buy into a
community riddled with foreclosures!
A little hint for the folks working on
next year’s budget: Include a line item for BAD DEBT – in
a sufficient amount. Even if the association has the right to
lien and foreclose for unpaid assessments, it will take quite a
while before sales from foreclosed units/homes gets money back
into the association coffers. In 2007/2008 we saw a lot of
budget shortfalls that had to be made up by special assessments
to be paid by the owners still in “good standing”.
The procedures for liens and
foreclosures for unpaid assessment are in detail described in
the Florida Statutes:
FS 718.116 Assessments; liability; lien and priority;
and assessments; liability; lien and priority; interest;
collection; cooperative ownership.—
FS 720.3085 Payment for assessments; lien claims.—
But so are the rights of owners:
Charges for late fees and interest are limited, and there is a
time limit before the association can charge attorney’s fees
(see: Notice of Late Assessment).
It is imperative that all parties
involved follow the provisions of the statutes or we will see
again a total chaos that leads to extra cost for all parties
involved. The only winners: The attorneys! Especially board
members should make sure that they are very familiar with the
procedures of past dues!
Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking