What Are Some Common Functions Of HOA And Condo Associations?
The first thing that really is different in community associations than living anywhere else is that the owners, when they take title to the property within a condo or HOA association, they are required to pay maintenance assessments. So whether those are imposed yearly or quarterly or monthly, the owners are obligated to pay those assessments and then sometimes special assessments pop up when there are certain things that have not been budgeted for and the reserves that are in place aren’t enough to cover special expenses that weren’t really expected when the owner is obligated to pay those as well. If the owner gets delinquent on those assessments then the association has the power to not only lien the property but to also foreclose on the property and it doesn’t matter whether or not the property is homestead or not.
The association in the state of Florida has the right to foreclose on delinquent assessments so probably, first and foremost, is that there are issues that arise on the amounts of assessments that are imposed, people object to those when they are discussed in the budget and if there is a delinquency there are some times issues over how much the owner is delinquent and those sometimes lead to litigation. The other issues that pop up is that obviously everybody knows when you live in an HOA or a condominium that you have rules and regulations that are not in place in other types of communities. You have restrictions, in some communities, some associations where there are HOA or Condos such as pet restrictions, restrictions on whether or not the owner can lease the property and what the terms of the lease would be.
Another issue that pops up frequently is where an owner wants to modify their unit or their home and a lot of times there are architectural review committees in place that the owner has to gain approval from and the owner also has to gain approval through the board of directors. You can’t just go and change your house without considering what is in those governing documents. So those are a few of the more common issues that pop up in condominium and homeowner association instances.
There are several issues that pop up both for the board of directors and the associations and for owners that live in condominium associations and homeowners associations. One of the most common disputes that arise in those types of communities is that the owners when they take title in a condominium or homeowner association, they are obligated to pay assessments, to pay maintenance assessments for the common areas for up keep of the common areas and there are also times where special assessments are imposed when unexpected and unbudgeted or under budgeted expenses come up and the associations themselves charge these monthly amounts but they also need to charge a lump sum amount to cover damage that we weren’t expecting.
The disputes with those assessments can come in the form of people objecting, owners objecting to the amounts that are put in budgets for assessments which can change on an yearly basis. They also will typically occur when the association tells an owner that they are delinquent. When they are delinquent then you have the assessments that are delinquent, then they have late fees that are typically charged, interest that can be charged, attorney’s fees, writing demand letters and liens and it can also lead to foreclosure of property. The association has the right when there are delinquencies to lien the property and then foreclose on that lien and one of the common misconceptions is that an association can’t foreclose on the house if it’s homestead when in Florida that is just wrong.
The association has the right and associations do foreclose on liens for delinquent assessments. So that’s a big area that comes up. The owners may say that they don’t owe the assessments. The owners may say that the assessments that were imposed were too high or that the interest was too high or that the late fees weren’t permitted under the declaration that governs the association. So the assessments and the delinquencies on assessments is one of the biggest issues. The other thing is that as most people know, when you live in an HOA or a condominium you are subject to certain restrictions that you would not be subject to if you lived in some other type of development or if you just lived outside any type of community association.
Those restrictions commonly are just pet restrictions, restrictions on the ability to lease your property and what kinds of terms you can lease your property under and one of the other most common restrictions is whether or not you can modify your unit or your home or to what extent you can modify your unit or your home. Those types of issues most certainly are common and they are ones where things tend to get pretty heated and at some point lawyers will need to be called in to try and come to some resolution and if you can’t get to any type of resolution, then it obviously may end up in a lawsuit.
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