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  • Writer's pictureFrank Landrian

Law regarding Condo fees & HOA fees due by Lenders.

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.

2. An association, or its successor or assignee, that acquires title to a unit through the foreclosure of its lien for assessments is not liable for any unpaid assessments, late fees, interest, or reasonable attorney’s fees and costs that came due before the association’s acquisition of title in favor of any other association, as defined in s. 718.103(2) or s. 720.301(9), which holds a superior lien interest on the unit. This subparagraph is intended to clarify existing law.

(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.

(d) With respect to each timeshare unit, each owner of a timeshare estate therein is jointly and severally liable for the payment of all assessments and other charges levied against or with respect to that unit pursuant to the declaration or bylaws, except to the extent that the declaration or bylaws may provide to the contrary.

(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 mortgage was recorded prior to April 1, 1992. If, however, the first mortgage was recorded on or after April 1, 1992, or on the date the mortgage was recorded, the declaration included language incorporating by reference future amendments to this chapter, the provisions of paragraph (b) shall apply.

(f) The provisions of this subsection are intended to clarify existing law, and shall not be available in any case where the unpaid assessments sought to be recovered by the association are secured by a lien recorded prior to the recording of the mortgage. Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 48, the association shall be a proper party to intervene in any foreclosure proceeding to seek equitable relief.

(g) For purposes of this subsection, the term “successor or assignee” as used with respect to a first mortgagee includes only a subsequent holder of the first mortgage.

(2) The liability for assessments may not be avoided by waiver of the use or enjoyment of any common element or by abandonment of the unit for which the assessments are made.

(3) Assessments and installments on assessments which are not paid when due bear interest at the rate provided in the declaration, from the due date until paid. The rate may not exceed the rate allowed by law, and, if no rate is provided in the declaration, interest accrues at the rate of 18 percent per year. If provided by the declaration or bylaws, the association may, in addition to such interest, charge an administrative late fee of up to the greater of $25 or 5 percent of each delinquent installment for which the payment is late. Any payment received by an association must be applied first to any interest accrued by the association, then to any administrative late fee, then to any costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in collection, and then to the delinquent assessment. The foregoing is applicable notwithstanding any restrictive endorsement, designation, or instruction placed on or accompanying a payment. A late fee is not subject to chapter 687 or s. 718.303(4).

(4) If the association is authorized by the declaration or bylaws to approve or disapprove a proposed lease of a unit, the grounds for disapproval may include, but are not limited to, a unit owner being delinquent in the payment of an assessment at the time approval is sought.

(5)(a) The association has a lien on each condominium parcel to secure the payment of assessments. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (1) and as set forth below, the lien is effective from and shall relate back to the recording of the original declaration of condominium, or, in the case of lien on a parcel located in a phase condominium, the last to occur of the recording of the original declaration or amendment thereto creating the parcel. However, as to first mortgages of record, the lien is effective from and after recording of a claim of lien in the public records of the county in which the condominium parcel is located. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to bestow upon any lien, mortgage, or certified judgment of record on April 1, 1992, including the lien for unpaid assessments created herein, a priority which, by law, the lien, mortgage, or judgment did not have before that date.

(b) To be valid, a claim of lien must state the description of the condominium parcel, the name of the record owner, the name and address of the association, the amount due, and the due dates. It must be executed and acknowledged by an officer or authorized agent of the association. The lien is not effective 1 year after the claim of lien was recorded unless, within that time, an action to enforce the lien is commenced. The 1-year period is automatically extended for any length of time during which the association is prevented from filing a foreclosure action by an automatic stay resulting from a bankruptcy petition filed by the parcel owner or any other person claiming an interest in the parcel. The claim of lien secures all unpaid assessments that are due and that may accrue after the claim of lien is recorded and through the entry of a final judgment, as well as interest and all reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the association incident to the collection process. Upon payment in full, the person making the payment is entitled to a satisfaction of the lien.

(c) By recording a notice in substantially the following form, a unit owner or the unit owner’s agent or attorney may require the association to enforce a recorded claim of lien against his or her condominium parcel:

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