Monday, January 6, 2014

Time to Pay Assessments - Even If You Don't Receive a Bill


One of the biggest issues my clients have with their associations is past due assessments because they did not receive a bill from the association.   Don't make the mistake of thinking you have a defense if they do not send out a bill.  The state laws protect associations and do not require them to send the bill.

Florida courts have ruled an owner is on notice of assessments due by virtue of purchasing property subject to an association and it is the duty of the owner to make sure those assessments are paid.  If you have not received your bill for your assessments, it is your duty to contact the association to find out if the amount has changed and to remit payment.

Also, remember -- the association is entitled by law to all interest, late fees and attorneys' fees and costs if you are past due.  IF YOU HAVE BEEN TURNED OVER TO THE ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY FOR COLLECTION, SEND PAYMENT TO THE ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY.  Attempting to avoid these fees by sending the assessments to the association directly will only cause you to incur more fees and costs.  The association will either return your payment (even though they are required to accept it) or forward it to the attorney.  No matter how they handle it, by law, the payment is applied to everything but assessments and if there is any leftover then it is applied to assessments.  Until you pay the full amount you will always be past due.

Bottom line -- you cannot get out of paying the assessments because the association may not have sent a bill or, because of mail service, you didn't receive the bill and the association can LIEN and FORECLOSE on your property for non-payment.

3 comments:

  1. I live in Ohio. On Oct. 31 I sold my condo. Five hours before I was supposed to sign to close the sale, I learned from my realtor that the board's management company sent the title company a letter requiring me to pay the board $1650 for a crack across my cement patio. I called the management company and the only person who could discuss it with me was gone for the day. The title company would not process the sale unless I signed over the $1650 so I did so I could sell my condo, which took 14 months to get a buyer for. I owned this unit almost ten years and was never notified the patio crack is a problem. The Declaration/Bylaws state the board is supposed to give reasonable notice before an assessment and comply with Ohio Revised Code for assessments which entitle me to a board hearing and written notice from the board. A board member did a home inspection with my realtor that day and told her had I patched the crack myself the $1650 would have been reduced. Since I was not assessed legally, it seems they did not have the right to take my money. Do you think if I sue them in small claims court a judge would award me the money since they violated their Declartion/Bylaws & Ohio Revised Code in assessing me?

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  2. It's possible. I'm not licensed in Ohio and I don't know the judges in Ohio. Judges don't always follow the written rules, but it does sound like you have a good chance of winning.

    Under Florida law, if the patio is a limited common element (not owned by the unit owner), then the condo association is responsible for the repairs unless the Declarations and Bylaws state otherwise.

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    1. Thank you very much for answering this.

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