How Do Home Owner’s Associations And Condo Boards Work?
The developer, the initial developer, or members of the association elect the board members. The rules for electing the board of governors are set forth in the bylaws followed by the association. The board members vote, and choose the officers that will run the association. Board members regularly meet, and are responsible for the creation of budgets, imposition of maintenance assessments, and enforcing the rules of the association. The Florida statutes primarily govern the association, and there are separate Florida statutes for condominium boards and homeowners associations. Assuming there are no conflicts between the Florida statutes, and the governing documents, the declaration of condominiums, or declaration of covenants are next in line in priority.
Then you have the articles of incorporation, the bylaws, and then the rules and regulations are set. That is the order of priority. The board of directors creates the non-statutory documents, and they can be directed either by the board of directors, or by the members of the association depending on the circumstances.
How Much Power Do HOAs (Homeowners Association) And Condo Boards Actually Have?
The board of directors of the associations has power, but obviously, it is not absolute. They must follow the dictates of the Florida statutes, and they must follow the dictates of the governing documents of the association. Having said that though, they have broad discretion such as the power to create budgets, and determine the amounts of assessments imposed by each unit, or homeowner. They also have power within certain restrictions to approve, or disapprove the modifications made to the unit or home.
They have power to fine members if they have broken one of the rules of the covenants, or the rules and the regulations of the bylaws, and they can under certain circumstances suspend the use rights of certain members, which means certain members cannot use amenities that are within the common area, or the property of the association.
What Do HOAs and Condo Boards Actually Regulate?
First, they regulate the assessments imposed, which include regular maintenance, and special assessments. They have the ability to proceed through proper channels as was stated before to suspend the use rights of the owners. The use rights can include the use of common areas such as pools, clubhouse, gyms, and other amenities within the association. They can suspend the rights of people to use gate passes. However, they cannot keep an owner from having access to drive to and from their home. They also have the power to lien and foreclose on homes within the association for nonpayment of assessments.
What Action Can Be Taken Against Homeowners Or Condo Owners To Collect Delinquent Assessments?
Usually, the collection process starts with the board of directors handing demand letters that are issued to delinquent owners. After they receive the demand letter, they have the ability if the unit owner does not pay the authority to lien the property for delinquent assessments, and that includes related fees and costs, such as late fees, interest, and attorney’s fees. If the owner does not respond to the demand letter and the liens, then the association has the right to file a suit, and to foreclose on the property. The board can sue for a monetary judgement to collect the delinquent fees, plus any related costs.
One common misconception many people have is if their home or the unit within the association is homestead that a homeowners association cannot foreclose on a lien for delinquent assessments. That is not accurate, the association can and will foreclose on homeowners for delinquent assessments.
Can A Homeowners Association Or A Condo Board Get A Lien On The Unit For Failure To Pay?
Yes, the association has a right to lien the property, and they have a right to foreclose on that lien. Even if the association chooses not to foreclose on the lien, the lien is still going to impair the title of that property. This means that it will impair the ability of the owner to transfer the property, and it is going to impair the ability of the owner to get any type of mortgage on the property as well if there is a lien for delinquencies the association has filed against on the owner.
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