What to do if we owe homeowners associations dues for the property that we live in?

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What to do if we owe homeowners associations dues for the property that we live in?

We received certified mail dated on the 10th of last month from the lawyer representing the association attempting to collect full amount, in addition to attorney’s fees. We have a 45 days from date of letter to pay otherwise he will file a claim of lien against the unit, which we are making arrangements to do. However, yesterday we received another letter from the attorney dated on the 25th to notify us about the recorded claim of lien and notice of intent to foreclose and additional amounts to pay. However, since we are still within the 45 days period, shouldn’t they wait until after the 45 days before this second step? In addition, what payment do we make since now he asked us to email the office for a total figure

Asked on October 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Florida law has specific rules for this kind of matter.  Section 720.3085 covers homeowner's association fees and liens (if your property is actually a condominium, it is governed by a similar but different statute).  According to section 720.3085(4), the association must send you a written demand for the fees and they must send it both certified mail and regular mail.  From your question, it appears that the association did this, and you received it on Sept 10.  According to section 720.3085(4)(a), you have 45 days to pay the fees, including attorney's and administrative fees. 

According to section 720.3085(5), the association must wait those 45 days before sending a notice of intent to foreclose.  They then have to wait another 45 days before filing a suit to foreclose.  So, all told you should have 135 days after the demand for payment to pay the past due fees and avoid foreclosure.  It appears that your association and its attorney did not wait for this prescribed period.

The practical thing to do is pay the past-due fees as soon as possible.  You have to pay the attorney's fees for preparing and sending the demand for payment. I am not looking at the two demands sent to you, so I cannot say what is a legitmate demand and what is not.  

If you pay these fees within 45 days of the first demand letter, you should not owe administrative or attorney's fees for the second (erroneous) demand.  If the attorney or the association gives you grief, you can send a Notice of Contest of Lien, and you can even record this if you think it is necessary.

 

 

 


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