By Jan Bergemann

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; interest; collection.—

  • FS 719.108 Rents 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!

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Jan Bergemann

Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida 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 Tallahassee - 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 Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website:

Educational Website:

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 in Florida !

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