My last blog entry discussed the rights of an association to assess fines and suspend rights to use facilities in a resident owned cooperative as provided in Florida Statute Section 719.303(3). Both condominium associations (under F.S. Section 718.303(3)) and mandatory homeowners’ associations (under F.S. Section 720.305(2)) have similar enforcement tools where a unit owner or parcel owner (or that owner’s licensee, invitee or other occupant of the home) fails to follow the association’s documents or the reasonable rules governing the community.
What about members of condominium, cooperative, or mandatory homeowners’ associations that fail to fulfill their financial obligations to the community?
Board members in condominium associations can look to F.S. Section 718.303(4)-(6), co-op board members can rely on F.S. Section 719.303(4)-(6), and board members in mandatory homeowners’ associations have available to them F.S. Section 720.305(3)-(5). Each of these statutes provides that, if a unit owner or parcel owner is more than 90 days delinquent in paying a monetary obligation due to the association, the board may suspend the right of that owner to use common elements, common facilities, or any other association property until the monetary obligation is paid in full. There are several additional points that are very important in regards to the suspension of these use rights:
- The suspension applies to both the owner and the unit or parcel’s tenant, licensee, invitee, or other occupant of the home
- In general, the right to use limited common elements used only by that unit or parcel, common elements needed to access that unit or parcel, utility services provided to that unit or parcel, parking spaces, or elevators cannot be suspended under these provisions of the statutes
In addition, if an owner is more than 90 days delinquent in the payment of any monetary obligation due to the association, the voting rights attributable to that owner or the unit may be suspended, until such time as there is full payment of all obligations currently due or overdue the association.
The suspension of these use and voting rights for failure to timely pay amounts owed to the association may be imposed without the hearing provided for where fines or suspension of use rights are being imposed for failure to abide by the association’s governing documents or the community’s reasonable rules. All that’s required is a properly noticed board meeting (and of course an agenda that clearly notes that the board is going to consider the suspension of the use and/or voting rights) and, once the suspension is approved, notification to the owner (and, if applicable, the occupant, licensee, invitee, or tenant) of the suspension by mail or hand delivery.
These suspensions can occur if an owner fails to pay "any monetary obligation"–not just maintenance fees or other regular assessments, and the notice of the suspension does not appear to have to sent by certified or registered mail.
Clearly, Florida’s legislators have given managers and board members in ROCs some ammunition in the ongoing struggle for our communities to maintain financial health.