By: Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.

Often times, when acquiring title to real estate property by virtue of a Homeowners Association foreclosure or a bank foreclosure, the new title holder is slapped with a bill from the condominium association or homeowners association, wanting to charge them for amounts due, including attorneys fees and costs, relating to the prior owner.  Florida has a “safe harbor” law, or a law that protects the title holder from being slapped with these exasperating  amounts.  The Florida Safe Harbor law is Florida Statutes §718.116 and states, in pertinent part, as follows:

718.116 Assessments; liability; lien and priority; interest; collection.

(1)(a) A unit owner, regardless of how his or her title has been acquired, including by purchase at a foreclosure sale or by deed in lieu of foreclosure, is liable for all assessments which come due while he or she is the unit owner. Additionally, a unit owner is jointly and severally liable with the previous owner for all unpaid assessments that came due up to the time of transfer of title. This liability is without prejudice to any right the owner may have to recover from the previous owner the amounts paid by the owner.
(b)1. The liability of a first mortgagee or its successor or assignees who acquire title to a unit by foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure for the unpaid assessments that became due before the mortgagee’s acquisition of title is limited to the lesser of:

a. The unit’s unpaid common expenses and regular periodic assessments which accrued or came due during the 12 months immediately preceding the acquisition of title and for which payment in full has not been received by the association; or
b. One percent of the original mortgage debt. The provisions of this paragraph apply only if the first mortgagee joined the association as a defendant in the foreclosure action. Joinder of the association is not required if, on the date the complaint is filed, the association was dissolved or did not maintain an office or agent for service of process at a location which was known to or reasonably discoverable by the mortgagee.
(c) The person acquiring title shall pay the amount owed to the association within 30 days after transfer of title. Failure to pay the full amount when due shall entitle the association to record a claim of lien against the parcel and proceed in the same manner as provided in this section for the collection of unpaid assessments.
(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b), a first mortgagee or its successor or assignees who acquire title to a condominium unit as a result of the foreclosure of the mortgage or by deed in lieu of foreclosure of the mortgage shall be exempt from liability for all unpaid assessments attributable to the parcel or chargeable to the previous owner which came due prior to acquisition of title if the first

About the Author:

Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq is the Owner and Managing Partner of the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, P.A. Real Estate and Business Law Litigation Group. With over 17 years experience as a real estate lawyer, including holding a dual degree in Accounting, her broad knowledge of real estate law serves to aggressively protect and defend our firm’s clients.

Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your specific needs. We are here for you!

Main office 305 | 669 | 5280. Or email the attorney directly: J.Salcines@Salcineslaw.com


Jacqueline A. Salcines

Jacqueline A. Salcines

TEL. 305 669 5280

Email:  J.Salcines@Salcineslaw.com