Albert Moore, Attorney at Law

Can A Homeowner Or Condo Association Obtain A Lien For Failure To Pay A Homeowner’s Assessment?

Both a condo association and a homeowner’s association have the right to lien a homeowner’s property or a condominium owner’s property for failure to pay the assessment with the homeowner’s association. The association is required to send out a demand letter that gives the owner 45 days to catch up on the assessments prior to filing the lien. Once the lien is filed, the association has to wait another 45 days for the owner to pay off the amount of the lien and any other related costs or fees. Once they do that, the association can actually file a foreclosure complaint on the lien. A condominium association is required to give a 30-day notice that states that they are in the process of filing a lien, and that if the payment is not made within 30 days, then they can foreclose on that lien.

Can The Homeowner’s Association Or Condo Association Increase Their Fees?

Yes; the board of directors of the association can increase or decrease fees at their discretion. There has to be a notice meeting, which can occur at a regular board meeting or at a member meeting. The notice has to specifically state that assessments have been imposed.

What Can a Homeowner’s Association Or A Condo Association Actually Regulate?

They can regulate the assessments that are to be imposed for the maintenance of the common areas, they can regulate the use rights of the owner to use the common areas or the limited common areas, and they can regulate improvements that are done to the home or condominium unit. Sometimes those are done strictly through the approval of the board, but there are also scenarios in which those types of improvements have to go through an architectural review committee before they go to the board for approval.

Why Should I Hire An Attorney If I Have A Disagreement With My HOA Or My CA?

More likely than not, the association will have counsel. The HOA laws are an extremely narrow practice; it’s not something that most attorneys dabble in, nor should they. Most of the attorneys that concentrate on that type of law and those associations have those types of specialists representing them. If an owner goes against the association, then they are almost surely going against the association’s counsel, and they are going to be at an extreme disadvantage if they don’t know the terms that are contained within the bylaws and the statutes that regulate the condominium and HOAs. I’ve been through that process, and if it comes to litigation, they will certainly need an attorney to help them through the civil procedure aspect of it.

Who Is Actually In Charge Of An HOA Or A Condo Association?

The board of directors is in charge of an HOA or condo association. When a developer develops a community and incorporates it as a homeowner’s association or a condominium association, the developer gets to select the board of directors. Once the association has switched from developer-control to member-control, the members vote on the board of directors. Ultimately, the board of directors has control over the association.

How Does A Homeowner’s Association Or A Condo Association Actually Enforce Its Rules?

The power of enforcement usually comes under Florida statutes, the declaration of covenants, articles of incorporation, bylaws and many rules and regulations of the association. If someone violates a term, then they will typically be notified by a member of the board, the property manager or the association’s attorney that they are in violation. If the violation is related to delinquent assessments, then the attorney will send a demand letter and demand that the owner catch up with those delinquencies. If it’s some other type of violation, like a violation of use rights, then the board can either fine the owner or suspend the use rights of the owner’s ability to use the common areas or limited common areas.

Some of it is guided and regulated by statute, some by declaration of condominium and some by the declaration of covenants. Oftentimes there has to be a finding committee established on the rules. The members of a finding committee have to make a finding before the board takes action and suspends someone’s use rights or fines an owner.

For more information on Liens By HOA & Condo Associations, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (772) 242-3600 today.

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