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Condo Collection Scams

Community Associations are subject to strict rules as to the amount and type of fees they may charge unit owners who are delinquent on their assessments. The term 'community associations' includes Condominiums and Homeowner Associations (HOAs). These associations are also subject to strict laws concerning the types and amounts of fees that may be charged in the event of a transfer or sale of the unit.

Over the years, I have seen demand letters with an absurd excess of extortionate "fees:" bank service fees, administrative fees, sales processing fees, file transfer fees and closing fees and administrative/management fees. I've seen these 'fees' add up to over a thousand dollars, even where there is no delinquency! These 'fees' are often not supported by the condominium  or HOA documents or Florida law. This kind of over-reaching against unit owners is exactly the reason that the legislature made sweeping changes in laws relative to condos, mobile home communities and HOAs.  There are additional laws on the books concerning abuse of the elderly.

However, these laws are of no use unless owners question the demands that are made on them. Too many owners are either afraid of their association, or afraid to rock the boat when they have a sale pending, and so they pay these fees without asking.  ASK QUESTIONS. Demand to see the condominium or HOA provisions and laws that the association relies on.

The condominium and HOA laws, and most declarations as well, provide that owners may be entitled to money damages and attorney fees where they have been subjected to unreasonable demands.   Such demands may also be a violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and F.S. 559, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. You should consult counsel to evaluate this for you and determine if you are entitled to money damages for violation of state or federal laws.    We can help.

The law requires community associations and their agents to act in good faith. In my opinion, it is NOT good faith to demand fees that are not provided for in the association documents and the law.

See our other posts on related topics, such as estoppel certificates.

Thought for the Day:

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." Albert Einstein

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