Search Articles

Select Topic

Search for keywords


Associations can now collect rent from tenant when owner is delinquent in assessments
by: Rob Samouce
The Legislature passed a large bill this year affecting community associations that became effective July 1, 2010.

Chapter 2010-174, also referred to as Senate Bill Nos. 1196 and 1222, is the first big piece of legislation pertaining to laws concerning condominiums, cooperatives and homeowners associations (all being: community associations) that has passed the legislature and has not been vetoed by the governor in quite a few years.

One of best provisions in the new legislation should be very helpful to associations while there are still so many foreclosures and owners not paying their association assessments. When one or more owners fail to pay their assessments, all the other owners suffer as they have to cover the amounts not paid by the deadbeat owners.

The new provisions allow the associations to collect the rent from units whose owners have not paid their assessments. Lots of owners, who get upside down in their mortgage, will quit paying their mortgage, quit paying their association assessments, and put renters in their units in default and collect the rent free and clear of their other obligations.

Many banks are slow to standing still in completing their foreclosures as they do not want to have to own the units until they can find buyers as they will have to pay insurance and association assessments until a buyer is found.

Every month goes by with the owners collecting more rent and the associations receive less and less assessments because of the deadbeat owners. The association’s bills do not likewise get less and less so this puts a hardship on the association to cover the bills resulting in higher assessments for the paying owners.

What the new laws says is that community associations can now follow a procedure to collect the rent. It provides that:

“If the unit is occupied by a tenant and the unit owner is delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the association, the association may make a written demand that the tenant pays the future monetary obligations related to the condominium unit to the association, and the tenant must make such payment. The demand is continuing in nature and, upon demand, the tenant must pay the monetary obligations to the association until the association releases the tenant or the tenant discontinues tenancy in the unit. The association must mail written notice to the unit owner of the association’s demand that the tenant make payments to the association. The association shall, upon request, provide the tenant with written receipts for payments made. A tenant, who acts in good faith in response to a written demand from an association, is immune from any claim from the unit owner.

(a) If the tenant prepaid rent to the unit owner before receiving the demand from the association and provides written evidence of paying the rent to the association within 14 days after receiving the demand, the tenant shall receive credit for the prepaid rent for the applicable period and must make any subsequent rental payments to the association to be credited against the monetary obligations of the unit owner to the association.

(b) The tenant is not liable for increases in the amount of the monetary obligations due unless the tenant was notified in writing of the increase at least 10 days before the date the rent is due. The liability of the tenant may not exceed the amount due from the tenant to the tenant’s landlord. The tenant’s landlord shall provide the tenant a credit against rents due to the unit owner in the amount of monies paid to the association under this section.

(c) The association may issue notices under s. 83.56 and may 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. However, the association is not otherwise considered a landlord under Chapter 83 and specifically has no duties under s. 83.51.

(d) The tenant does not, by virtue of payment of monetary obligations to the association, have any of the rights of a unit owner to vote in any election or to examine the books and records of the association.

(e) A court may supersede the effect of this subsection by appointing a receiver.”

So, if your association has renters in units or homes with assessment deadbeat owners, get the proper notice out to the tenant and owner as soon as possible and start collecting the rent to help cover the assessment shortfall. We will look at some of the other new provisions in Chapter 2010-174 in next month’s article.
Rob Samouce, a principal attorney in the Naples law firm of Samouce, Murrell, & Gal, P.A., concentrates his practice in the areas of community associations including condominium, cooperative and homeowners' associations, real estate transactions, closings and related mortgage law, general business law, estate planning, construction defect litigation and general civil litigation. This column is not based on specific legal advice to anyone and is based on principles subject to change from time to time. Those persons interested in specific legal advice on topics discussed in this column should consult competent legal counsel.