Collections practices in Community Association law are largely controlled by Florida Statutes (Section 720.3085 for Homeowners Associations or Section 718.121 for Condominium Associations) as well as adherence to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Association documents such as the Declaration of Covenants. Once courtesy notices have sent to a delinquent owner, accounts should generally be turned over to your attorney for collections. The legal collection process typically starts with a Notice of Intent to Lien being sent to the property owners of record, giving condominium owners thirty (30) days to respond and homeowners association members forty-five (45) days to respond.
If the delinquency is not resolved at that stage, a Claim of
Lien can be recorded against the property and a Notice of Lien and Intent to
Foreclose to the owner is sent. After allowing another 30 or 45 days for payment,
the Association may proceed with foreclosing on the Claim of Lien by filing a
lawsuit for lien foreclosure.
Along with these notice stages, there are other
considerations such as payment plans, intercepting rent from a tenant directly
if the property is rented, or waiting for a foreclosing bank to take title and
attempting to recover all or a portion of the liability from the new title
owner. With the current COVID-19 situation, condo & HOA collections should
be conscious of the pandemic and its affect on owners and members of the
community. It is generally recommended that a Claim of Lien be secured against
the property to protect the Association’s interests. However, other measures
should be handled with care. That’s not to say nothing else should be done but
rather circumstances should be evaluated.