Liens and Foreclosures of Past Due Assessments
Owners in common interest associations have an obligation pursuant to the recorded governing documents to pay assessments to their community association for their portion of the common expenses incurred by the association. Those expenses may include such things as professional management fees, security service fees, landscaping maintenance, and repairs and maintenance of the common areas. Each year the board of directors is charged with determining a budget upon which the owner’s annual assessments are based. In addition, there may be “special assessments” for exceptional expenses, such as mechanical or structural failures for which no reserve funds are held, or special projects, which may require association expenditures beyond the approved annual budget. If individual owners fail to uphold their obligation to pay these assessments to the association, the loss of revenue can be catastrophic for the community and severely impair the operation of the common elements. An association simply cannot continue to operate unless these funds are collected.
At SRHL, we have an experienced team of collections attorneys and legal assistants who excel in delivering the effective and efficient collection of these past-due accounts for our association clients. Florida Statutes and the association’s governing documents provide the association with a legal course of action to collect delinquent assessments, which involves sending notices to the delinquent owner, the filing of a lien against the home, and may ultimately lead to the filing of a lawsuit for foreclosure if the account is not reinstated. Although the association’s lawsuit does not typically result in “free and clear” title to the property, the owner’s title to the property is foreclosed and their right of possession is extinguished. Addressing delinquent accounts quickly and aggressively through a sound collection policy can help to avoid such dire consequences.
Among the leaders in technology for association collections, our firm has a web-accessible system through which associations can track their collections accounts any time of the day or night. The system provides information updated daily regarding the status of each association collection account, and the information is accessible by association representatives with a secure username and password. New accounts may be submitted via e-mail or entered directly through the web portal into our system. In addition to our online system, our collections attorneys are available for any assistance the association may need in understanding the sometimes complex world of assessment collections. Each collections matter has its own set of circumstances that are as individual as the owners in the community. SRHL attorneys are experienced in the areas of association liens and foreclosure litigation as well as bank foreclosure litigation and bankruptcy, all of which play a role in the current collections climate.