Unit Owner Is Not Current On Maintenance And Special Assessments
- Q: Can a Florida Community Association (“Association”) Take a Unit Owner’s Rental Income?
- A: The short answer is YES, but only under certain circumstances. An Association may collect a unit owner’s rental income directly from the Tenant if the unit owner landlord is delinquent on monthly/ quarterly maintenance dues and assessments due to the Association.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes, Section 718.116(11), if a condominium unit is occupied by a Tenant and the unit owner landlord is delinquent on maintenance dues and special assessments due and owing to the Association, the Association may send a written notice letter to the Tenant that the Tenant is to pay rents directly to the Association until the delinquency is paid in full by the unit owner landlord. The Tenant has an affirmative obligation to make all the monthly rental payments, required under their residential lease agreement directly to the Association instead of their unit owner landlord.
In order for this process to occur, the Association must provide the Tenant with written notice either by hand delivery or via United States mail (we recommend certified mail too). A verbal demand will not suffice. The Association must also mail the written notice to the unit owner. Thereafter, if the Tenant makes the monthly payment to the Association, the unit owner cannot state that the Tenant has not made his/her monthly rental payments due under the lease and therefore, the Tenant may not be evicted by the unit owner landlord. Further, the Tenant has no obligation to make more than the monthly rental payment pursuant to the Residential Lease with the unit owner landlord.
What Goes In The Notice?
The Notice from the Association to the unit owner landlord and Tenant should be substantially similar form as below:
Pursuant to section 718.116(11), Florida Statutes, the association demands that you pay your rent directly to the condominium association and continue doing so until the association notifies you otherwise.
Payment due the condominium association may be in the same form as you paid your landlord and must be sent by United States mail or hand delivery to (full address) , payable to (name) .
Your obligation to pay your rent to the association begins immediately, unless you have already paid rent to your landlord for the current period before receiving this notice. In that case, you must provide the association written proof of your payment within 14 days after receiving this notice and your obligation to pay rent to the association would then begin with the next rental period.
Pursuant to section 718.116(11), Florida Statutes, your payment of rent to the association gives you complete immunity from any claim for the rent by your landlord for all amounts timely paid to the association.
Per 718.116, the Association may issue notice under s. 83.56 and sue for eviction under ss. 83.59–83.625 as if the Association were a landlord under part II of chapter 83 if the tenant fails to pay a required payment to the Association after written demand has been made to the Tenant. However, the Association is not otherwise considered a landlord under Chapter 83 and specifically has no obligations under s. 83.51. This statute also enables the Association to have the possession lawsuit filed with the benefits of summary procedure. Florida Statutes, 51.011, Summary Procedure, is a tool that expedites legal proceedings and shrinks the normal time limits from 20 days to 5-days for the Tenant to file an answer. This means the lawsuit goes through the system at a rapid pace.
In sum, the Association can evict a Tenant for possession of the unit under the Florida Landlord-Tenant statute and step into the unit owner landlord’s shoes only when the the unit owner landlord is NOT current on maintenance dues to the Association. All other alleged breaches of non-monetary rules and regulations violations brought by the Association and against the unit owner and/or Tenant for injunctive relief/ removal may proceed in court, but the Association will not be provided with the benefits of the Florida Landlord-Tenant Statutes and/or Summary Procedure.
If the Association is successful in these proceedings, the Association is also entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees from the non-prevailing party under Florida Statute 718.303 for injunctive relief and the non-payment of maintenance dues. These types of actions by the Association are not considered a “dispute” under Florida Statute, 718.1255 and therefore no arbitration or mediation is required before the Association commences Tenant removal proceedings.
Does your Florida Association have a similar issue? The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC and its experienced team of West Palm Beach Condominium Lawyers are here to help your Association. We are boutique real estate law firm that caters to our clients with a hands-on approach.
Call us today @ 561.699.0399 to set up aconsultation with one of our West Palm Beach Condominium Attorneys. We are located in Lantana, Florida. We serve Lantana, West Palm Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, and South Florida.
You may also be interested in seeing some of our other legal blog posts on Florida Community Associations. For your convenience, Please see links below.