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If I do not pay my condominium fees, what type of sanctions can my condo association take?

If you own a condo unit, you are required to pay certain fees, called assessments. It is important for you to understand that your condo association or community association has a lien on your unit in order to secure the payment of fees. 

While there are certain procedures which the association must follow, the condo association can certainly seek to enforce and foreclose on the lien. In other words, the law permits the board of directors of the condo association to institute a foreclosure action against you.

Regardless of whether a foreclosure action is instituted, late assessments will bear interest at the rate provided for in your condo declaration, or 18% if no rate is stated. Additionally, your condo association's bylaws or declaration may permit it to charge an administrative or late fee of $25 or 5% of each delinquent installment, whichever is greater. The condo association will also require you to pay for reasonable costs and attorney's fees incurred in collecting the fees. Attorney fees are provided for by Florida Statutes and often by the condo declaration as well. [If you are successful in defending the suit, you may be entitled to your attorney fees.

If you make any payment towards assessments, they are applied first to any interest, then to administrative or late fees, then to attorney's fees and costs, and finally to the original fees.  However, you should review the assessments that your community association requests you to pay and ensure the accuracy.

The Association will NOT be bound by any restrictive endorsement you put on your check. Even if they cash a check for less that said "full payment" they can still come after the owner for ALL the monies due under the condo documents.

For more information, visit www.celiadeifik.com

This post contributed by Holly Rice, who is the associate attorney at Lanier & Deifik, P.A.

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