REAL ESTATE LAWYERS
THE RIGHT TO RECORD LIEN AND TO FORECLOSE ON UNPAID ASSOCIATION LIENS, IS PERHAPS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL A HOMEOWNERS OR CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATON HAS TO ENFORCE ITS ASSESSMENT OBLIGATIONS.
Florida Statutes permit associations to recover unpaid assessments and expenses by requiring strict compliance with statutory procedures and notice to homeowners. While Florida Statutes permit associations to file liens against homeowners for unpaid association maintenance and assessments, the associations are limited in that liens can not be filed if the dues are less than a certain amount, and can not be filed, unless the Association first sends the correct notice to the homeowner.
Association liens, filed by either Condominium Associations or Homeowners Associations can be foreclosed upon, which means that a homeowner can lose their property to the Association or third party bidder, if the amounts due are not satisfied. By law, the association can not collect more than the amounts permitted by statute and penalties are also capped.
OBLIGATION TO PAY HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION OR CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION DUES
When homeowners purchase a new home that is governed by an association, it is almost like purchasing into a club. The Association makes all the rules and the homeowner is required to follow the rules, pay the amounts due, and abide by all the laws governing the association. One of those rules is paying the maintenance and assessments, if any, timely. When associations send statements, the homeowners has a certain amount of time to pay them or incur a late fee. If not paid timely, then the association will send out a letter advising of the amounts past due and demanding payment. If the notice is ignored, then the association has the right to file a claim of lien, and take your property.
RECORDING OF THE LIEN
Any lien recorded by the Association attaches to the property as soon as the assessment or maintenance becomes delinquent. However, because there is no way for third parties to know about it, the association records the lien. Once the lien is recorded, notice is considered proper upon the homeowner.
ASSOCIATION LIEN REQUIREMENTS
When HOA fees are due, the Association although not obligated, may provide a statement to the property owner, setting forth the amounts due. If the owner fails to pay, the association sends notice that it intends to lien. The content and timing of the notice are set forth by statute and very important as to ability to record the lien, or if it stands up in court.
State laws vary with regard to the content of the lien. If the exact language required by Florida Statute is not included in there, it can be set aside, and the homeowner can recuperate attorney’s fees and costs for the illegal lien.
In Florida, HOA fees are limited to 25.00 or 5% of the past due amount and interest must not pass 18%.
Further, the association must file suit within 90 days or the lien becomes void.
EFFECT OF THE LIEN ON THE PROPERTY
Even if the homeowner does not go into foreclosure, the Homeowners Association or Condominium Association lien will act t encumber the property and will prohibit the prohibit the property sale until it is satisfied. If a mortgage default occurs and the bank forecloses, the proceeds are fist applied to the HOA claim of money and then to the mortgage debt, if recorded first.
If a foreclosure is filed against you, the homeowner has the right to assert a defense and fight the foreclosure. There are numerous grounds, as detailed above, to fight a Condominium Association or Homeowners Association foreclosure. However, if the amounts are actually owed and the association has followed all the correct procedure, the homeowner must then negotiate the amounts due in order to avoid having the property sold at auction.
REMOVAL OF THE ASSOCIATION LIEN
At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we have been helping homeowners with their condominium and homeowners association dues and foreclosures for over 21 years. Attorney Jacqueline Salcines, an accountant and attorney, is well versed in condominium law and knows the ins and outs of the Florida Statutes and how to protect homeowners against the associations..
If you are facing foreclosure or a claim of lien has been filed against you, consult with us today. We are here to help you navigate the association’s rights, make sure they are acting legally and help you save your property from foreclosure.
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