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By Jeffrey R. Nuckols, Esq.
Did you know that your condominium association can file a lien against your unit for unpaid assessments? Did you know that your condominium association can foreclose on that lien and have your unit sold at a foreclosure sale? Much of the relevant law is in Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes. Click the title above to read more.
We all know that our mortgage lender can foreclose on a mortgage on our home if loan payments go unpaid, and the result of the foreclosure is the sale of our home. That mostly makes sense since the mortgage lender gave us the money to buy the home in the first place, and we’re usually talking about tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of mortgage debt. But what about your condo where you’re making all of your mortgage payments, or you’ve finished paying off the mortgage?
Some condominium associations have assessment fees of just a couple hundred dollars per month. If you miss a few of those, we still might be talking about a thousand dollars or maybe even a couple thousand dollars. The condo association has the legal authority to file a lien for that small amount, foreclose on that lien, and have your unit sold.
What makes it worse is that your condo association can charge a late fee and interest on missed assessment payments. Your association can also add its legal fees and costs to the lien that it files against your unit. What might begin as one missed assessment payment for a couple hundred dollars can balloon into over one thousand dollars by the time your association notifies you of its intent to file a claim of lien against your unit. I have seen one case where the difference between the amount of money that the homeowner should have paid to the association and the amount that the homeowner actually paid was less than one thousand dollars, but the total amount the association demanded from the homeowner over four thousand dollars because of late fees, interest, attorney fees, and legal costs. You can imagine how the payments that you missed might be manageable – a few hundred dollars, but the total that the association demands from you is entirely unmanageable – a few thousand dollars.
The best thing to do about all of this? Pay your condo association fees. If your association provides a monthly statement, read it carefully to determine whether your association thinks you are current in your payments. Watch out for special assessments to make certain that you are aware of them and that you do not forget to pay them.
The passage of time can make one missed payment swell into a substantial sum of money. Your condominium association has tremendous legal power to inflate your debt and take your home.
If you have questions about a condominium association claim of lien, call Jeff Nuckols at DKN Legal at 321-329-5449.
Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice nor as forming an attorney-client relationship or any other form of legal representation. Consult with an attorney at DKN Legal or another attorney of your choice for legal advice.