Homeowners’ Associations & Dues
When it comes to monthly dues and homeowners’ associations, questions come up frequently; both from executives dealing with homeowners who aren’t paying yearly dues; and from homeowners wondering whether there are circumstances that allow them to withhold monthly dues.
When it comes to homeowners’ dues, property managers, presidents, and other executives have a fiduciary duty to ensure that all owners stay current with their dues. The failure to do so could lead to a Pandora’s Box of issues, whereby other owners follow suit and fail to pay dues as well.
Owners Failing To Pay Dues
Most legal documents signed with homeowners’ associations, as well as state laws, allow associations to file liens against owners for failing to pay their dues. Another option for the association is to foreclose on the owner. Regardless of the option pursued, working with an experienced homeowners’ association attorney in your area is necessary, noting that, in most circumstances, the association can also recoup its legal fees for having to file against the owner.
The Law in Florida
Under Florida law, to be valid, a claim of lien must include the parcel description, the name of the owner, the name and address of the association, the assessment (amount) due, and the date it is due. The association must also send the owner notice of their intent to record a lien at least 45 days prior. They must also serve a notice of intent to foreclose on the lien. As previously mentioned, the homeowners’ association can also sue the owner for attorneys’ fees.
Keep in mind that law is different for condominiums, which cannot file the actual lien until 30 days after the notice of intent to file the lien is served on the owner. Consult with your attorney concerning lien priority and the date that the association recorded its Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.
Owners Withholding Dues
Similarly, owners sometimes wonder what their options are, should their homeowners’ association fail to uphold what’s promised in the legal documents: holding open board meetings, answering questions, etc. However, it is important to note that the law does not generally uphold your right to withhold your dues simply because you are dissatisfied with the homeowners’ association. Typically, any disputes with the association have to be taken up by suing the association, not via withholding your dues. In addition, your contract will sometimes entail what steps should be taken in the instance of disappointment with your association, such as options you might have for recalling specific board members.
Florida Homeowners’ Association Attorneys
At HD Law Partners, our Tampa homeowners’ association attorneys have over 40 years’ combined experience providing knowledgeable, proactive legal representation for various property interests. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your legal questions.